Showing posts from September, 2014

Wagner, Mahler (and Brahms)

Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Friday September 26 2014
Philippe Herreweghe, Conductor. Ann Hallenberg, Mezzo Soprano. Orchestre des Champs Elysées.
Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, prelude to act IIIMahler: KindertotenliederBrahms: symphony N°4. For reasons I could have done without, I have a special interest in Ann Hallenberg's Mahler. Earlier this year, on account of work, I had to cancel a trip to Berlin to hear her sing Das Lied von der Erde. The Abschied I missed appeared shortly after on internet, the very day deep tragedy struck, and listening to it (many times) helped me cope. Naturally, when I saw she would be singing the Kindertotenlieder in Paris this month, I booked.

Ann Hallenberg has fretted on line that she may not be “the kind of singer the audience wants to hear in Mahler”. She is, of course, wrong to worry. Her Mahler is as anyone who knows her singing would expect: impeccably tuned for a start, perfectly phrased and intelligently nuanced, sincerely exp…

Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia

ONP Bastille, Thursday September 25 2014

Conductor: Carlo Montanaro. Production: Damiano Michieletto. Sets: Paolo Fantin. Costumes: Silvia Aymonino. Lighting: Fabio Barettin. Il Conte d’Almaviva: René Barbera. Bartolo: Carlo Lepore. Rosina: Karine Deshayes. Figaro: Dalibor Jenis. Basilio: Orlin Anastassov. Fiorello: Tiago Matos. Berta: Cornelia Oncioiu. Un Ufficiale: Lucio Prete. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

Paris’s new production of Il barbiere – not
altogether new, as it was created in Geneva in 2010 – should be fairly easy to describe. The curtain rises on an ordinary, slightly shabby, yellow street façade in Seville. We see the ground floor and three storeys above, but there could be more. To the left is a tapas bar (the Barracuda) with a giant ice cream cone and a table and chairs outside. In the middle, under Rosina’s balcony, is Almaviva’s (blue) car. All over is a multitude of realistic detail: the fire hydrant, the blue-and-white street numbers, the “…

Rameau - 250 years

Born September 25 1683, died September 12 1764.

Strauss - Daphne

Sunday September 21 2014

Conductor: Lothar Koenigs. Production: Guy Joosten. Sets: Alfons Flores. Costumes: Moritz Junge. Lighting: Manfred Voss. Video: Franc Aleu. Choreography: Aline David. Peneios: Iain Paterson. Gaea: Birgit Remmert. Daphne: Sally Matthews. Leukippos: Peter Lodahl. Apollo: Eric Cutler. Erste Magd: Tineke Van Ingelgem. Zweite Magd: Maria Fiselier. Schäfer: Matt Boehler, Gijs Van der Linden, Kris Belligh, Justin Hopkins. Orchestra and men’s chorus of La Monnaie.

Nobody these days wants to see tenors in tunics or cavorting shepherds, so Daphne, wonderful though it is, is sometimes performed in concert but too rarely staged. The director must scratch his head wondering what modern parallels he can use. Guy Joosten decided that nature-obsessed and literally tree-hugging Daphne, refusing to party with the uncouth, was defying all her parents and their milieu represented, and that, in this day and age, that would be the world of finance. Wall Street. Fair enough, as ideas…