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Showing posts from October, 2015

Schoenberg - Moses und Aron

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ONP Bastille, Monday October 26 2015

Conductor: Philippe Jordan. Production: Romeo Castellucci. Moses: Thomas Johannes Mayer. Aron: John Graham-Hall. Ein junges Mädchen: Julie Davies. Eine Kranke: Catherine Wyn-Rogers. Ein junger Mann: Nicky Spence. Der Nackte Jüngling: Michael Pflumm. Ein Mann: Chae Wook Lim. Ein anderer Mann, Ephraimit: Christopher Purves. Ein priester: Ralf Lukas. Vier Nackte Jungfrauen: Julie Davies, Maren Favela, Valentina Kutzarova, Elena Suvorova. Drei Älteste: Shin Jae Kim, Olivier Ayault, Jian-Hong Zhao. Sechs Solostimmen: Béatrice Malleret, Isabelle Wnorowska-Pluchart, Marie-Cécile Chevassus, John Bernard, Chae Wook Lim, Julien Joguet. Sets, costumes and lighting: Romeo Castellucci. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris. Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine, Paris Opera children’s chorus.

I am ashamed to say that in all my long years I had never taken the time to listen to Moses und Aron. It was criminal negligence and I regret it now: last night I dis…

Rossini, Mendelssohn and Mahler

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Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Saturday October 24 2015

Conductor: Yuri Temirkanov. Soprano: Camilla Tilling. St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
Rossini: Barber of Seville overtureMendelssohn: Symphony N°4, Italian SymphnoyMahler: Symphony N°4. An evening of undemonstrative virtuosity. You might call Temirkanov an "anti-Bernstein". His gestures are sparing and his conducting seems (ars being celare artem) likeably literal and straightforward: no showiness (or showmanship), no lush wallowing, no violent extremes, no pulling the score about: when the score comes to an abrupt halt (e.g. the end of the second movement of the Mahler), no slowing down to smooth the abruptness out. The magnificent orchestra comes across, under his guidance, as quietly impressive: one vast, neat, gently humming machine, with not so much a sense of separate sections as one of a single, intricately interconnected mechanism. Never a note out of place, of course; not one quack from a horn or a trum…

Strauss - Ariadne auf Naxos

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Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Monday October 12 2015

Conductor: Kirill Petrenko. Ariadne/Prima Donna: Amber Wagner. Bacchus/Tenor: Jonas Kaufmann. Zerbinetta: Brenda Rae. Composer: Alice Coote. Music Master: Markus Eiche. Lackey: Christian Rieger. Brighella: Matthew Grills. Dancing Master: Kevin Conners. Harlequin: Elliot Madore. Major-Domo: Johannes Klama. Scaramuccio: Dean Power. Truffaldino: Tareq Nazmi. Officer: Petr Nekoranec. Wigmaker: John Carpenter. Naiad: Eri Nakamura. Dryad: Okka von der Damerau. Echo: Anna Virovlansky. Bayerisches Staatsorchester.

I hinted, in my report on Saturday’s Theodora, that it might have been better without the distractions of the bland production. I don’t know if we should call last night‘s Ariadne auf Naxos a concert performance or a semi-staged one. There were no sets or costumes and the orchestra was on-stage; but the singers, in evening dress, had no chairs or stands, and acted their parts out, all of them, with gusto. It was so succe…

Händel - Theodora

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Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Saturday October 10 2015

Conductor: William Christie. Production: Stephen Langridge. Choregraphy: Philippe Giraudeau. Sets and costumes: Alison Chitty. Lighting: Fabrice Kebour. Theodora: Katherine Watson. Irene: Stéphanie d’Oustrac. Didymus: Philippe Jaroussky. Septimius: Kresimir Spicer. Valens: Callum Thorpe. Les Arts Florissants.

An old friend of mine was too ill to go to the TCE for Theodora last night (hacking cough, like many in Paris at the moment - but people know Christie too well to dare hack their lungs out with him in the pit) and therefore asked for a report immediately after. As these e-mails or texts shot-off in the heat of the night while still abuzz from a show sum up one's main conclusions, I'll reproduce mine here:

Have you heard this Katherine Watson? If not you must try to get back to the TCE. I see she was a choral scholar at Trinity (1). That kind of background probably explains her degree of accomplishment and musicians…