Monday, January 25, 2010

What's on in Europa-Europa?

Apart from the sensational and jaw-dropping production of The Fairy Queen, as well as that excellent Norma, both premiered in Paris this month, the major European operatic event in January 2010 is undoubtedly the new production of Rienzi which was premiered last night at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. The German newspapers are already loaded with comments and critiques, reactions and simple articles about this apparently opulent and highly polarizing show. It's cut in half to last only 150 mins, in which Philipp Stolzl squeezed the elaborated parallel between Rienzi and Hitler --with all what this may entail-- pushing the boundaries far enough to spur some strong emotions, both positive and negative ones. Apparently during the show, as the new scenes unveiled, a good fraction of the audience openly booed, only to end the show with an unanimous outburst of applauses. That's what you get in Opera houses in Germany. :)

Pic lifted from the DOB web-site

Needless to say that Yours Truly is dying of jealousy for not being able to be in Berlin last night, but hey - life wouldn't be interesting if you had everything you wanted... That being said, ahem, I certainly hope to see this production sooner rather than later ;)  [which is why I avoid reading all the detailed descriptions of this show, already available on www]

Other than the new productions, the rerun of the best ever production of Elektra (the one by Martin Kusej, available on DVD) was premiered in Zurich this past Saturday night, in which Daniele Gatti conducted his first Elektra. This was extra-risky a job for him because he was supposed to fill the shoes of Christoph von Dohnányi (sic!) According to our favorite Suisso-Schweiz blogger, Gatti was indeed good, although maybe too careful and slowish. I bet his next Elektra will be mind-blowing. His Parsifal in Bayreuth was very slow first year, while the second year it became arguably one of the greatest of all time - GOAT. But, hey... Wait a second! His next Elektra should be next summer in Salzburg - which Yours Truly will go to see in person ;)

Speaking of Elektra  I should mention the Guy Joosten's production currently re-running at La Monnaie in Brussels featuring Eva-Maria Westbroek (swoon!).  I will not mention the rerun of that horrid The Rake's Progress by Robert Lepage in London, which I saw on DVD but didn't have time to write about [I guess it's clear what I think of it though...]

More interesting things are happening in España. Past Saturday was premiered Lucia di Lammermoor with Nino Machaidze and (our fave) Francesco Meli at Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia. Since their web-site suuuucks (big time!), you cannot get any viable info. I wonder how this Graham Vick production works when set up in their huge hall... [Incidentally this is the only belcanto opera which I'm always pleased to see. ]

For a really good stuff though you need to go northwards, to Barcelona, where the new run of Tristan und Isolde opened this Saturday too. Our most reliable Mei says that Sebastian Weigle was rather uninspiring, while she found the title-role too large for Peter Seiffert, who was apparently excellent up to the middle of the second act and then started falling apart [I guess something  like Ben Heppner in ROH?!]. She doesn't tell much about our other fave, Kwangchul Youn, but let's wait and hear what he can do, as this coming Wednesday [January 27] at 19:00 cet, the live radio-broadcast of Tristan und Isolde is scheduled on Catalunya Radio. The title roles will be sung by Peter Seiffert and Debbie Voigt [I guess I'd rather listen to Jennifer Wilson's Isolde ;)] Several pics of this cartoonish looking David Hockney production can be seen on the Liceu web-site.

For the end, 2-3 inspiring videos from Rienzi:
The overture conducted by James Levine [YT video from gtelloz] - in 2 parts

and then the most astonishing René Kollo singing Allmächtger Vater [YT video from Onegin65]

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