Showing posts from June, 2016

VPO/Nott/Kaufmann: Beethoven, Strauss, Mahler

Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Thursday June 23 2016

Conductor: Jonathan Nott. Jonas Kaufmann. Wiener Philharmoniker.

Beethoven: Overture CoriolanStrauss: Tod und VerklärungMahler: Das Lied von der Erde
I really must learn to pay more attention, when I get my season’s tickets from the TCE, to where they’ve put me. It was only when I arrived there last night that I realised I was on the front row, which in my opinion shouldn’t be sold as top category at all as there’s no hope, with your nose up the violin section’s trouser legs, of hearing properly balanced sound. For the sake of completeness, I’ll write up my thoughts, but whether they resemble anyone else’s experience will be anyone’s guess.

So I’ll be brief.

The Coriolan overture, as played by the Wiener Phil., simply reminded me that these days I prefer to hear Beethoven played by smaller, “hipper” orchestras. It was at once massive and humdrum.It was about 30 minutes into the concert, as we at last plunged into a proper Straussia…

Rossini - L'Italiana in Algeri

Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Friday June 10 2016

Conductor : Jean-Claude Malgoire. Production and sets : Christian Schiaretti. Costumes: Thibaut Welchlin. Lighting: Julia Grand. Isabella: Anna Reinhold. Lindoro: Artavazd Sargsyan. Taddeo: Domenico Balzani. Mustapha: Sergio Gallardo. Elvira : Samantha Louis-Jean. Haly : Renaud Delaigue. Zulma. La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy. Ensemble Vocal de l’Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing.

There’s something seriously wrong when the best-cast parts in L’Italiana in Algeri are Taddeo and Zulma. My neighbour thought it was “criminal” to push these gauche young singers on to the stage of the TCE in parts so far beyond their means. The audience was indulgent, but by the end of “Languir per una bella” there was already a hint of booing from high up on the left. I will say no more about the singing.

Jean-Claude Malgoire was something of a pioneer of the baroque revival in France, and this production was, if I understood correctly, intended to cel…

Reimann - Lear

ONP Garnier, Monday June 6 2016

Conductor: Fabio Luisi. Production: Calixto Bieito. Sets: Rebecca Ringst. Costumes: Ingo Krügler. Video: Sarah Derendinger. Lighting: Franck Evin. König Lear: Bo Skovhus. König von Frankreich: Gidon Saks. Herzog von Albany: Andreas Scheibner. Herzog von Cornwall: Michael Colvin. Graf von Kent: Kor-Jan Dusseljee. Graf von Gloster: Lauri Vasar. Edgar: Andrew Watts. Edmund: Andreas Conrad. Goneril: Ricarda Merbeth. Regan: Erika Sunnegardh. Cordelia: Annette Dasch. Narr: Ernst Alisch. Bedienter: Nicolas Marie. Ritter: Lucas Prisor. Orchestra and chorus of the Opéra National de Paris. 

"Tout y était. Il n'y a rien à dire." So said my neighbour at the end, and he was right. What can you add when, for once, everything is at such a fervent pitch, with singing, acting and playing consistently, even triumphantly (if such a word can be used in the gruesome context of King Lear) meeting the enormous demands of an uncompromising score in an uncompromis…