Showing posts from March, 2011

Wagner - Siegfried

ONP Bastille, Tuesday March 22 2011
Conductor : Philippe Jordan. Production : Günter Krämer. Sets : Jürgen Bäckmann. Costumes : Falk Bauer. Lighting : Diego Leetz. Siegfried : Torsten Kerl. Mime : Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke. Der Wanderer : Juha Uusitalo. Alberich : Peter Sidhom. Fafner : Stephen Milling. Erda : Qiu Lin Zhang. Waldvogel : Elena Tsallagova. Brünnhilde : Katarina Dalayman. Orchestra of the Opéra National de Paris.

Günter Krämer’s version of the Ring is turning out, to me, to be a bit perplexing. The conceptual thread is clear enough (assuming I’ve got it right): vignettes from German (or maybe just Western) history and culture. But visually speaking, you never quite know what the curtain will rise on: apart from one or two repeat elements (“Germania” in Gothic letters, the “Kokkis” inclined mirror over the stage, the terrifying “Valhalla” staircase) I haven’t yet grasped much visual/stylistic consistency in the staging.

Still, the first act was excellent entertainment. …

Mozart - La Finta Giardiniera

La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday March 20 2011
Conductor: John Nelson. Production: Karl-Ernst Herrmann, Ursel Herrmann. Sets, costumes and lighting. Don Anchise, podestà di Lagonero: Jeffrey Francis. La Marchesa Violante Onesti (Sandrina): Sandrine Piau. Il Contino Belfiore: Jeremy Ovenden. Arminda: Henriette Bonde-Hansen. Il cavaliere Ramiro: Stella Doufexis. Serpetta: Katerina Knežíková. Roberto (Nardo): Adam Plachetka. ...: Mireille Mossé. Orchestra of la Monnaie.

I don’t deny for a moment that Mozart was one of the greatest composers of all time, but he composed in a period that doesn’t appeal to me much. So the idea of young Mozart (I won’t actually say “second-rate” for fear of getting shouted down) in a 20-year old production had me, once again, fearing the worst. It turned out, however, that the Hermanns had completely revamped their staging: it was fresh as a daisy and outstandingly good, all that an outstanding production should be: intelligent, handsome, rich in detail and rehea…

Massenet - Cendrillon

Opéra Comique, Paris, Wednesday March 9 2011
Conductor: Marc Minkowski. Production: Benjamin Lazar. Choreography: Cécile Roussat and Julien Lubeck. Sets: Adeline Caron. Costumes: Alain Blanchot. Lighting: Christophe Naillet. Cendrillon: Judith Gauthier. Le Prince charmant: Michèle Losier. La Fée: Église Gutiérrez. Mme de La Haltière: Ewa Podleś. Pandolfe: Laurent Alvaro. Noémie: Aurélia Legay. Dorothée: Salomé Haller. Le Roi: Laurent Herbaut. Le Doyen de la Faculté: Vincent de Rooster. Le Surintendant des plaisirs: Julien Neyer. Le Premier Ministre: Paul-Henri Vila. Orchestra and Chorus of the Musiciens du Louvre – Grenoble.

I remember once reading (you can probably tell me where) that Strauss’s operas were “luxury” works requiring “luxury” performers to succeed. I think the same can be said of Massenet. There’s a potential for outdated mawkishness in the texts (think: “Adieu notre petite table” – or in this particular case, Cinderella reminiscing tearfully about an armchair) and for …