Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lohengrin from Bayreuth now

See here
Klaus Florian Vogt

    Act One 
  • Funny that the sound-engineers didn't tune their instruments beforehand, to account for the magnificent acoustics of the auditorium in Bayreuth.
  • fyi, I'm recording it
  • Zeppenfeld is great as usual!
  • I wonder how much instructions from Neuenfels received the set and costume designer. This show has that same neat & classy design we could see in other Neuenfels productions. Great job anyway!
  • Annette is not Anja Harteros nor Anne Schwanewilms but her rendition of Einsam in trüben Tage is excellent anyway
  • And so we have our first interruption... that Arte fills up by Jonas Kaufmann singing an aria from Zauberflöte... 
  • Feed is still screwed up -- another aria by Kaufmann, this time from Fidelio. Mannnn...
  • Woohoo we're back -- it's all good!
  • If I missed to strongly emphasize  how excellent Samuel Youn is, I'm doing it now! If there is someone who could inherit the brilliance of Kwangchul Youn that's Sam
  • Seriously, I admire Jonas Kaufmann's musicality and intelligence, but KFV is just the greatest Lohengrin -- his unearthly, almost vibratoless, voice is like tailored for this role... Sublime Nie sollst du mich befragen
  • I expected to see our dear Tomas Tomasson as Telramund. It's Jukka Rasilainen instead. OK Jukka is good too...
  • Zeppenfeld rulz!
  • Neuenfels takes the opposite route to what we usually see in Lohengrin these days. Lohengrin is not coming to be a manipulator; instead, he is indeed a 'savior'. With arrival of Lohengrin all the  folks from Brabant got rid of their black rat0coats, and after Lohengrin expressed his love to Elsa, they come in a totally human shapes (except for the ratsy feet and hands) -- Errrr unless Neuenfels thought the humans were easier to manipulate than the rats?! [I wouldn't be surprised ;)]
  • It is a laboratory! The light hoops above the stage are the instruments for observation.
  • God do I love this opera!
    Act Two
  • If you get to listen to Petra Lang singing Wagner please do -- it is really special. She is a Lieder singer with a big voice and so every single word she pronounces is perfectly articulated, thought of, and weighted according to the text... That quality is extremely rare among sopranos and/or mezzos. 
  • Petra Lang is awesome!
  • Annette Dasch is gooooood... 
  • Neuenfels makes the decontamination crew changing the stage configurations. The whole Brabant is contaminated by the Lohengrin's Swannery??? 
  • Neuenfels' idea with rats is theatrically GREAT!
  • Love the chorus
  • ... and aren't the rats adorable?!
  • As for the public encounter between Elsa and Ortrud: Quelle classe!
  • Bottom line is that this is a narrative staging with a particularly beautiful and modern aesthetics. The idea with Brabant as a laboratory with rats  is a theatrical accessory that is very cleverly lead through the story without taking anything away from the original plot.
  • Intermission - diner time
    Act Three
  • I screwed up smt while recording the second act. RATS 
  •  Loving the show!
  • Annette Dasch is really good too. Overall the singing in this Lohengrin is outstanding. No Heppner, Fritz or other impossible Lohengrin, no heavy-voiced Elsa, superbly singing Ortrud... and the King is singing royally too. Great!
  • Superbly created scene with Telramund dressed as a rat coming to the bedroom of Lohengrin and Elsa at the moment when Elsa dared to ask Lohengrin about his origins.
  • Only later we understand it was Telramund disguised...
  • Here is the voice blessed by Gods singing In Fernem Land
  • No seriously, nobody gets even close to this... Sandor Konya comes like an amateur in comparison with KFV
  • Klaus Florian Vogt ROCKS!
  • Wow! What a twist in the end...
  • What a fantastic work by EVERYONE in this production. Congratulations to all of them for a superb job and huge thanks for a wonderful opera night! Eberchart Friedrich and his remarkable chorus, Andris Nelsons and a magnificent Bayreuth Festival orchestra, Neuenfels and his team for a great staging, and the most impressive soloists! 

    Andris Nelsons


    1. My head is still reeling! What we are missing in the U.S. not having this level of production!

    2. It was really great tonight! A priori you'd cringe about the idea of having Brabant filled up with rats, and at some point you find them adorable :)

      The US productions are mostly old-fashioned. What annoys me is that this is regularly justified by the claim that the American singers actually hate the non-traditional stagings.
      But when you see the American singers performing in Europe they are almost all sensational. They are taught the Regie is bad, and then they discover that through Regie thy can realize their full talent, i.e. they get to create scenically the characters they are (brilliantly!) taught to sing: Hendricks, Richards, Cutler, Polenzani, Mehta, Kunde, Delavan, Osorn, Forbis,... or Byers, Didonato, McKay, Maclean,...
      We read Andrew Richards living the whole experience -- denying the talent he's had in him.

      It would be great if Gelb included ONE Regie production a year. Just one! That would spur enough discussions and the things would start to move on.

      Oh sorry... I got derailed :) It must be this Chardonnay. Cheers

    3. Maybe we were lucky in England, hardly any blips in transmission, and mostly during the interviews. What an audacious production, but it is exactly in the spirit of Wagner's own bizarre fantasies. The Rats are wonderful because you can identify with them and care about them more than some comic book Brabanters. And why not humour in Wagner ? In wit, there is wisdom. Come to Europe, La Cieca.