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 III
- Mahler: Kindertotenlieder
- Brahms: symphony N°4.
Her concern that “my and Maestro Herreweghe's non-sentimental interpretation will be too... untraditional” may have been better founded. His is a vibrato-free zone, his orchestra is not the VPO, and Ann Hallenberg is better-known for Baroque and Rossini (not absolutely "unsentimental" perhaps, but different kinds of sentiment), so there may well be traditionalists who are upset by it. But the result is not only more transparent; it is drier and sparer than usual, and only makes the songs more uncompromisingly bleak – surely a legitimate approach, though not a comfortable one.
The songs were preceded (without a break or applause) by a snatch of Wagner and followed, after the interval, by the Brahms. But I bought my tickets to hear Ann Hallenberg sing Mahler, and by then, not convinced I needed drier, sparer Brahms, was on my way to dinner with ravening friends.
(In May I published a link to that Berlin performance of Der Abschied.)