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Showing posts from December, 2008

Dvorak - Rusalka

La Monnaie, Sunday December 9 2008

Conductor: Adam Fischer. Production: Stefan Herheim. Sets: Heike Scheele. Costumes: Gesine Völlm. Lighting: Wolfgang Göbbel. Video: fettFilm Berlin. Rusalka: Michaela Kaune. Prince: Ludovit Ludha. Sprite: Frode Olsen. Jezibaba: Livia Budai. Foreign Princess: Anda-Louise Bogza. Hunter/Priest: Julian Hubbard. Wood Nymphs: Olesya Golovneva, YoungHee Kim, Nona Javakhidze. La Monnaie Chorus and Symphony Orchestra.

Stefan Herheim’s Rusalka, in Brussels, must be one of the busiest productions I’ve ever seen.

The curtain rose on a set that was, by today’s standards, unusually realistic: a Brussels street corner: typical Brussels-style, cocoa-coloured brick houses with tall, narrow doors and windows, wrought iron balconies and satellite dishes; a 50s ice cream parlour to the left, topped with a cone and a neon sign; a graffiti’d metro entrance with a flower seller; a neo-gothic church with a rose window; a tall weeping willow, a column displaying posters and,…

Wagner - Tristan und Isolde

ONP Bastille, Wednesday December 3 2008

Conductor: Semyon Bychkov. Production: Peter Sellars. Video: Vidéo Bill Viola. Tristan: Clifton Forbis. König Marke: Franz-Josef Selig. Isolde: Waltraud Meier. Kurwenal: Alexander Marco-Buhrmester. Brangäne: Ekaterina Gubanova. Melot: Ralf Lukas. Ein Hirt / Ein junger Seemann: Bernard Richter. Ein Steuermann: Robert Gleadow. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

This final reprise of Peter Sellars' production of Tristan (although this is the most expensive production of Gerard Mortier's tenure, the ONP's right to use the videos runs out soon and they will be delivered to the museums that bought them) was musically oustanding, with one sad exception. Either Waltraud Meier was having a singularly bad night, or her career as Isolde has ended. She could manage the middle range when the orchestra was quiet, and so played on that (and of course exploited her experience in the part to moving effect); but at most times it seemed…