Thursday, December 27, 2012

RIHM: Dionysos (Staatsoper im Schiller Theater, 10.07.2012)



Absurd, right? Weird, right? Creepy, eh? Kiddies, this is a lesson learned: never AND NEVER step your both feet on the wild, untamed, beyond your nightmare world of NEW MUSIC. and in this case, new music OPERA!

Anyway, I found the story line and philosophy idea of this piece very interesting. And the set, they are huge... this is quite a production. I must admire that, because usually the new music production are kinda like some 'meh' that's 'exalted' to a whole new meaning of interpretation, instead of coming with a confession: no one wants to put their money on this kind of art. 

Mojca Erdmann's doing good in the role dedicated to her (wow, such accomplishment for a young diva!) 
I myself definitely won't bite this biscuit the second time 'round, but YOU, new music fan, this is a must. A MUST. It's RIHM.

Rating: 7/10

JANACEK: Das Schlaue Fuchslein (Komische Oper Berlin,08.07.2012)



This is the end of the intendancy of the controversial (and quite lame, honestly) Andreas Homoki. (Personal hurrah from me, cuz his predecessor, Barrie Kosky, is fantastic!)

Placed on the last day of Komische Oper Festival and attended by some prominents of Berlin (including our Buergermeister Wowereit and his partner *wink*, who praised the production as 'komisch and represent the house' - BITCH, PLEASE!!!!)

It's either I was drunk or the production is just too complicated, it's failed to 'deliver the message'. I wasn't drunk, so... The changing human-animal head between scenes (even in scene, what's the point, man??), the spinning "rooms"/setting, and it's totally doesn't represent the 'fun & hip' spirit of the house. Too bad, from several of his productions they picked this one to close his duty in Berlin. Hhmmppphh...

Anyway, adieu Homoki and good luck in Zurich!

Rating: 5/10

Händel: XERXES (05.07.2012, Komische Oper Berlin)


EINFACH WUNDERBAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One of the operas of this year. This joint production with Deutsche Oper am Rhein really elevates the house of our Komische Oper to a whole new level!

Simply barock. The very lively production, the barock costumes, bombs(!), classic-elegant stage and backgrounds, wonderful arias (too bad most of them are sung in German, except "Ombra Mai Fu" and several others, of course).

I really hope Komische Oper keep this one as their core repertoire. This opera simply rocks!




The singers are also good, but I can't really tell if their performance is really outstanding - the whole stage and effects got my whole attention. Maybe it's a minus for this production?
Even though this production was done in German, famous arias like 'Ombra mai fu' are sung in the original language.


Some 'orthodox' audience of the oper may find this production too 'sassy' or 'cheeky'. Understood. But for the young people, this is a very good production as a big entrance gate to the world of opera  My personal opinion: One thing you should keep away from a Baroque opera is 'boredom'.



If those pictures don't make droll, I don't know what will... Xerxes for Season 2013/2014!!!

Rating: 11/10 (yes, it's that goooood.....)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

ASHAMED

Yes, I'm ashamed, because my writings on this blog goes very slow. Very very slow. Of course I already got my Christmas holiday ahead of me, but I don't know... A little update for "I was there" stuffs...
1. Monteverdi Trilogie at Komische Oper Berlin - went to watch the three operas separated, great stuffs, a little low on musicality, De Ridder tried to make the instrumentation quite interesting - but some just failed. Rating: 3.5/5
2. Cameron Carpenter - Orgel konzert, 24.09.2012, Philharmonie - WOW. This guy rocks. He has the potential to awaken the excitement of younger generations for orgel. Not to mention that he's a brother to Lady Gaga in fashion. A little edgy on the look, so it may take some time for him to be recognized by the 'classic' audience. Anyway, love his concert. Many wishes for a great career. Rating: 4.5/5
3. Barenboim-Zyklus I with Jonas Kaufmann, 30.09.2012, Philharmonie - Expected greatness with Schubert's "Die schoene Muellerin", however the crowd was a little low, probably because of the Berlin-Marathon atmosphere that ruled the whole city, and of course blocked our ways to Philharmonie. Douche marathon. JK. Rating: 4/5
4. L'Elisir D'Amore - MET Live in HD Streaming, 13.10.2012 - As the season opening of the MET, this production is a little bit low. Anna Netrebko is, as always, a bright factor and rocked this role she's mastered for years now. Polenzani and Kwiecien did a very good job, but my biggest praise goes to our Dulcamara, Ambrogio Maestri. His role goes deep into his blood and he went very comical about it.  Anyway, nice evening and a good experience for MET Live, because at first, I thought it's gonna be boring to watch an opera on the big screen. Rating: 4/5
5. Cecilia Bartoli - Mission, 29.10.2012, Philharmonie - I got a very bad seat for this concert. I could barely hear her voice. Damn. Anyway, in my opinion, she did a very good job delivering the 'new' music. An encore by Handel, "Lascia la spiga" is "that" moment. Love it. Rating: --
6. Anna Netrebko - Iolanta, 14.11.2012, Philahrmonie - Nailed it. I was there. Concert highlight of the year. Netrebko being Netrebko as usual. She fits the role SO WELL... we could've sold our lives for it. The rest of the cast are (ehem... unfortunately) quite ordinary... Skorokhodov, our Vaudemont, almost tripped once on stage. Oops... Don't blame him - blame the narrow stage and stairs on stage. Anyway, with all the flaws,  we all hail Netrebko!!! Rating: 4/5
7. WIEN SPECIAL: Can't believe I said this but I went to Wien, and catch a CLAUDIO ABBADO + Orchestra Mozart concert in Goldener Saal der Musikverein Wien!!!!!!! Plus to that, I went to watch ALCESTE, Wiener Staatsoper's first production of the opera after almost 60 years!!! All of these are huge blessings for me, not to mention the kind people on the box offices who gave me a very good prices due to cancelled tickets. Wherever you are now, nice lady and gentleman, thank you. Rating: HEAVEN.

Quite interesting, and I hope during the holiday, I can make a REAL reviews of them. If not, then...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

ABANDONED, NOT?

The way I treated this blog during summer holiday... is plain bad. I got a job at a hospital as station co-workers and only got few days off, and now the routine's back. Anyway in this period of time I have seen:
1. Berlin production of Salzburg Festival's Don Giovanni
2. Anne-Sophie Mutter LIVE in Philharmonie!
3. XERXES, a production from Deutsche Oper Rhein-Main in Komische Oper - best baroque opera so far!
4. Wolfgang's Rihm Dionysos - Berlin production
5. Tan Dun conducting for the epilogue of Young Euro Classic + Crouching Tiger Concerto: LIVE!
6. CARMEN in Berlin Seefestspiele on Wannsee - full fire and passion!

Sounds very great right? IT IS. So be patient. I may take quite a long time to catch up and write my reviews, so... we'll see.

MS

Thursday, July 12, 2012

und jetzt... ECHO KLASSIK 2012

Heute wird das Ergebnis/ die Liste der Presitraeger von Echo Klassik 2012 herausgegeben!!! Ich freue mich sehr, manche sind ja mein Lieblings. Anna Prohaska (Nachwuchssaengerin), Anne Sophie-Mutter (20./21. Jahrhundert Einspielung), Klaus Florian Vogt (Saenger), Renée Fleming (Saengerin), Khatia Buniatishvilli (Nachwuchs Klavier), Milos (Nachwuchs Gitarre), uvm. 


So, hier ist die komplette Liste: http://www.echoklassik.de/klassik-preistraeger-2012/

Pure happiness...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Benefizkonzert - Zugunsten der Sanierung der Staatsoper Unter den Linden (04.07.2012, Philharmonie Berlin)


Another Staatsoper highlight before they close the season with their *crappy* new music festival. A benefeit concert! In Philharmonie! With ASM! What could you ask for more?





On the fourth of July (hey, US Independence Day!), it was a Brahms night. His Violinkonzert D-Dur op. 77 opened the night. Mutter, stood beside the ever magnificent Barenboim, executed the piece in such a wonderful, concentrated way. 

Brahms No. 4 is the second part of the concert. It's a good decent interpretation from Barenboim and our folks of Staatskapelle Berlin. 

I'm looking forward for their next beneficial concert! Hope it's gonna be a more colorful programm, but... as for now, it's satisfactory.

Rating: 7.5/10 

EXTRA: a listening-tip, simply a 'classic' album, a must for Brahms' & Mutter's lovers... 

BMW & Salzburger Festspiele Edition > MOZART: Don Giovanni (03.07.2012, Staatsoper im Schiller Theater)




First of all: this opera is a part of STAATSOPER FUER ALLEE programm. On 30. June 2012 the opera was broadcasted live to the Opernplatz (near original place of Staatsoper Berlin, currently under renovation).


 Take a look at this picture (the cast of Don Giovanni went straight from Schiller Theater to Bebelplatz/Operplatz for the audience applause) :

Also a concert by Daniel Barenboim & Yefin Bronfman with Staatskapelle Berlin presenting Tschaikowsky's Klavier Concert No. 1 & his Symphony No. 4


As we know, this production is a borrowed one from Salzburg Festspiele. So you already know it's gonna be special. And yes, it was. Strong performance by the member of the casts. Dorothe Roeschmann was on her top form as Donna Elvira. Erwin Schrott was very energetic on stage but not so amazing in the vocal department, as we would expect from someone who's... just like him. Christopher Maltman is a good Don Juan - he could be better, actually. I personally didn't really feel him. (Somehow I feel Schrott is more suitable for the leading role, eee?? But maybe he's too silly for Giovanni.) And should I start praising my favourite Diva on stage, ANNA PROHASKA?? And... somehow I also didn't feel the vibe from the 'Donna Anna'. 


"Reich mir die Hand, mein Leben": Christopher Maltman und Anna Prohaska in Don Giovanni.   Foto: Monika Rittershaus


Erwin Schrott (Leporello) versorgt Christopher Maltman (Don Giovanni), der im Duell verletzt wurde.

It's a perfect production, spinning wood, BMW on stage, classy... The program notes explains a lot about the background of this production, which is very interesting and philosophical. Claus Guth, you're the man.

Rating: 4.5/5

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Deutschland-Japan Freundschaftskonzert (24.06.2012, Philharmonie Berlin)

Why I can't find a single picture of this splendid event on the net?

A free concert always turns me off. Low class/obvious commercial repertoire, taking for granted audience, and the list goes on... BUT a miracle happened.


HIROSHI HOSHINA: composer of one of the works and also conductor that night

I personally think this concert is tremendous (as a free one). My personal highlights are the pieces from Japanese composers like "The Song of a Great Tree" from Toshio Mashima or "The Rebirth" from Hiroshi Hoshina. Other than that, the Waltz section (such as the overtures from "Die Fledermaus" and two encores that shake Philharmonie that night") is also very interesting.


Toshio Mashima: composer

Rating: 4/5

MOZART: Idomeneo (20.06.2012, Komische Oper Berlin)

http://www.komische-oper-berlin.de/spielplan/idomeneo/#

No pictures, nothing. Why? This is a declaration, my people. This production of IDOMENEO is nominated for 'Best Oper of The Year... from the bottom"... Oh God, this production tried to be very serious, with Idomeneo as a traumatized patient, but it just didn't work. It ended up being total boring and meaningless. The whole concept ruined everything, including the cast that actually could be good. Instead they're trapped in this hell of more than 3 hours.

Sorry. But... just don't watch this...

Rating: 2/10

Telefonica SPECIAL: Lang Lang's 30th Birthday Concert (15.06.2012, o2 World Berlin)



What can I say?
I hate this guy even more each day. Now hold up. Here comes the explanation:
1. He's the Britney Spears of classic. No, not the legend thing, but the fact that he's becoming more commercial each day disturbs me. Steinway & Sons: Lang Lang piano? Make sense. But, Nike shoes - logic, please? Dude, you're not a basketball player or runner. I just don't get this kind of endorsement.
2. His last album "Liszt: My Piano Hero" is a piece of lifeless, artless recording, doesn't make any difference to any "Best Of Liszt" albums sold at 4,99 Euros in any discount-CD stores.
3. His next album, "The Chopin Album" will face the same fate: high selling, low art. Why? Because Sony Classical abused him.
4. Deutsche Grammophon keeps on releasing his recycled material. I know, I know, not his fault, but still... WHY did he leave DG? A really bad business (or musical, to be precise?) decision, from my point of view.
5. THIS birthday concert is nothing but a secular spectacle. Move away, classic fans, this concert is NOT for you.

The venue of the concert, o2 World, is definitely not for classical music. I seated on the third class, got a wide view of the venue, and still good sound. But the hall, as we know, is very big. It's a venue for spectacle, not for romantic music night. And beside, big room, big audience, noises... and stuffs... just a big NO.

The program is actually quite good. After Bernsteins' Overture to "Candide", Lang Lang enters the room. Piano Concert of Tschaikowsky starts to play. It went very smooth. And his fingers, oh his fingers... For a moment, I must recognize this: he's a true performer.

On the second part of the concert, Lang brought out Herbie Hancock! Crowd wowed, I just... oh well. Crossover... NOT. Bernstein and Schubert's came in, in both pieces I can feel such smooth play, although it lacks of the 'fun' element, so much control and "holding back". Yes, of course, by the jazzy piece, you need to get a little adventurous, but somehow, it's juts not natural coming from Lang Lang.

The next part: the kids from Lang Lang's competition. An online video voting has been made to pick some kids from many countries around the world, to perform beside Lang Lang for this very special occasion. What a huge adventure for a kid... but no, I refuse to fall into this trick. Since when, this is American Idol? Since when, by seeing these talented kids on stage, we have to believe in a better future of our world (oh God, here I go again..)? Since when an interpretation of a piece on a million-dollar-concert should fall into these hands of kids? The result is clear: Brahms' Hungarian Dance and Beethoven's Fourth Movement from Symphony No. 5 looked very grand with 15 pianos on stage (Yes, all fifteen!), sounded big, loud, but lifeless. Spectacle for the eyes, horror feast for the ears. Shame on you, cruel world.

The concert closes with Gershwinn's "Rhapsody in Blue" and a few encores. End.

By the way the whole stage and lightning are just rad cool... as if I'm on a pop concert. IDGAF 'bout it.

Sorry, for being such a hater. Didn't mean to, but if Lang Lang keeps on running that money wheel that doesn't pay respect to the "roots" of the classical music (don't ask me what does that even mean), BURN. And, no, I won't buy "The Chopin Album" or support the release this October in any kind of way  (even though I indirectly promote it through this post. Oh, cruel world...)

Rating: 6/10
Common people rating: 11/10
("Oh, classical concert of the year... Spectacle... Lang Lang rocks... Woohoo... Herbie Hancock's the s***..." said a man next to me - total turn off)



Liederabend: ANNA PROHASKA (08.06.2012, Konzerthaus Berlin)



Anna Prohaska should celebrate 2012. Her sophomore album, due actually this fall, maybe postponed - BUT an Echo Award is waiting for her on 14.10 in Berlin. This 'Liederabend' is actually also a program to support (or to bridge the gap between her first and) her sophomore album. Moving around the theme/figure of Ophelia, the repertoire that night contains the works by Brahms ("Fuenf Lieder der Ophelia" WoO 22), R. Strauss ("Drei Lieder der Ophelia" op. 67), Berlioz ("La mort d'Ophelie"), and of course selected cuts from her debut.
Quite interesting, the moderator, Lars Eidinger  read a few lines from Shakespeare (yes, also "To Be or Not To Be") and Mueller between songs.
Prohaska's performance that night is very wonderful, I think a piano-vocal recital is one of her favorite (or strongest part too), assuming that she's chosen this kind of music - I mean, not a obvious choice of opera arias album with grand orchestra and renowned conductor - as her debut. Pianist Eric Schneider is on top, no critics. A wonderful night.
*One minus is: she didn't sing my favorite cut from Sirene, which is Schubert's "Des Fischers Liebesglueck". Oh well...

Rating: 8/10

Dunkle Schoenheit: SOL GABETTA, ARVO VOLMER (07.06.2012, Konzerthaus Berlin)



Konzerthausorchester Berlin
Arvo Volmer
Sol Gabetta
 Violoncello 
 
Arvo Pärt Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten 
Dmitri Schostakowitsch Konzert für Violoncello und Orchester Nr. 2 g-Moll op. 126 
Antonín Dvořák Sinfonie Nr. 8 G-Dur op. 88


A very wonderful night started once the orchestra hit the first note of "Cantus". You already know than, that's the whole concert is more like a body of work, a collection of songs in purpose, "dark beauty" as the title of the concert implies. As time reached the end of the season, it's also the last concert for Sol Gabetta as Artist in Residence of our Konzerthaus. Which means the end of quite a wonderful time, since I don't really get excited for their choice next year, Julia Fischer. Anyway, Shostakowitsch No. 2 is a piece no longer strange to Gabetta. In 2008 she released an album containing the piece featuring Munich Philharmoniker. It was superb, winning an ECHO Award a year later. Hearing her performing this piece live, you'll get the sense of her love of the piece. Rarely promoted as his ' older sibling', the piece becomes a tool of virtuos on the hands of Sol Gabetta. Sol Gabetta closed her performance by doing a solo cello on the song 'The Prayer'. 







Arvo Volmer in my opinion did a very good job. I can still recall the performance of Dvořák's No. 8 that night. It was very smart and full of instinct. One thing that saddened me, is his focus on always talking about the finance of concert houses in his residency, Australia, rather than giving us an inspiring musical talk during the interview after the concert. This is a huge turn-off for me. Because at the same time, Gabetta involved very very willingly on the talk and shared her healthy point of view about 'virtuos intrepreter' being a part of the orchestra during a performance. Which is also the reason why she couldn't just leave the stage without an encore. This is an example for all. And I mean, for all of you, musicians who left the stage leaving the audience unsatisfied, pretending you're not a star interpreter and when didn't come to see you.


Rating: 9/10


Praise Gabetta!!



Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig, Riccardo Chailly, Hélène Grimaud (15.05.2012, Konzerthaus Berlin)




Gewandhausorchester Leipzig 
Riccardo Chailly 
Hélène Grimaud Klavier
Christina Landshamer Sopran


Maurice Ravel Konzert für Klavier und Orchester G-Dur
Gustav Mahler Sinfonie Nr. 4 G-Dur für Orchester und Sopran

Performing Ravel's Piano Concert G-Dur with Gewandhausorchster,  Hélène Grimaud, a star pianist already familiar to the piece, dazzles. It's not a question anymore, actually, how good is her interpretation of this piece. On her 90's release she has received a tremendous praise for her take of the piece with dirigent Jesús López Cobos. "Philosopher of the piano," claims the media. Quite meets the reality. The performance is very good, now this Ravel's piece becomes one of my favourites. I bought her record of this piece and always get stuck to the memory of the night. Chailly definitely did a better interpretation, leading the orchestra, than Cobos.

Promoted as the star of the night,  Hélène Grimaud served not more than just a star filler. A moment of sadness that strucked me once the Ravel's Piano Concert came to an end and the star pianist didn't want to give an encore, instead "giving the applause" to the orchestra. The question is, why, oh why?



The superb Ricardo Chailly, who recently won Conductor of the Year Award by ECHO 2012, is one to be celebrated that night. Under his lead, Gewandhausorchester soared in many 'important' moments of Ravel's. More 'drang' sounds for the concerto add the excitement to the listening. Mahler's Symphony No. 4 comes alive! As the second piece of that night, Chailly able to overcome the empty chair on the 'star-seat' due to leaving Grimaud. The sopran of the night is a good one, although not 'the best one'. So I don't want to comment more on that. 

A very worthy night. 

Rating: 8/10

HILARY HAHN: In 27 Pieces - The Hilary Hahn Encores etc. (03.05.2012, Philharmonie Berlin)





Johann Sebastian Bach
Sonata for solo violin No. 1 in G minor BWV 1001 
Ludwig van Beethoven
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A major Op. 12 No. 2 
Johannes Brahms
Scherzo from the F-A-E Sonata 

plus a selection of short pieces by modern composers*

*It's a lie. Actually this part is the "main" pieces of the concert. Famous pieces by big composers mentioned above are only "fillers", because this is a concert in the "conservative" Germany and nobody's going to Philharmonie, watching you playing "New Music". 

Along with Cory Smythe, Hahn presented her latest project/competition: In 27 Pieces - The Hilary Hahn Encores, a collection of encores that are written for and dedicated to her. I would totally buying the CD if they're (absolutely) recorded. *Early 2014, here I come*

Thoses pieces are:

Nico Muhly - Two Dash
Lera Auerbach - Speak, Memory
Jennifer Higdon - Echo Dash
Soren Nils Eichberg - Levitation
Avner Dorman - Memory Games
Einojuhani Rautavaara - Whispering
Christos Hatzis - Coming To
Max Richter - Mercy (German entry!!)

I myself, as a fan of "New Music" really enjoyed the night. "Whispering" is very interesting! "Levitation" and "Mercy" are my highlights... That old man next to me just grumbled, coming only to listen Bach's. 

Technically, Hahn's no doubt beyond excellent. These encore pieces that she played very personal and "intimate" made the night even more wonderful. Meanwhile Smythe on piano delivers a very good interpretation, but Hilary shines too bright, you can't see other person on stage. *Sorry*

After seeing Hilary Hahn and being familiar with her musicality, I have one word to describe her: INNOVATION. I can't wait of what comes next.


For more about this project, simply visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/hilaryhahnvideos

Rating: 8/10


Klavier-Zyklus V: YUJA WANG (30.04.2012, Schiller Theater)


LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Sonate Es-Dur op. 27/1

SERGEJ PROKOFJEW
Sonate Nr. 6 A-Dur op. 82

FRANZ LISZT
Sonate h-Moll

Yuja Wang is one of the world's renowned youngest pianist. Comes from the 'school of China' (Lang Lang, everyone?), Yuja has reached so much with her 4 albums under Deutsche Grammophon. Beside an Echo Award and a Grammy Nomination, her latest effort, FANTASIA, sells like hot cakes in Dussmann. Nuff said...

That night Ms. Wang played a repertoire that is quite far from her latest album, even though her play of these pieces is quite familiar already. They are nice, but somehow doesn't really suit her. Each piece is great, but somehow they're just good stuffs thrown into the same basket case - they don't connect. I somehow prefer her doing the encores from Fantasia, pieces that she loves. 

Showing off for the encore, Wang picked my personal favorite of Fantasia: Variations on a Theme From Bizet's "Carmen". The whole audience are hypnotized and got very excited!

Rating: 7.5/10


Fantasia is in stores now...

+ Here comes the bonus:




zeitfenster - VI. Biennale Alter Musik Festival: Trauer und Trost (28.04.2012, Konzerthaus Berlin)



Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin 

RIAS Kammerchor 

Olof Boman 
Berit Norbakken Solset Sopran
Anders J. Dahlin Tenor
Andreas Wolf Bass


Johan Helmich Roman "Herren känner de frommas dagar" - Begräbnismusik für König Frederik I. (1751)

Ingvar Lidholm "... a riveder le stelle" für Chor a cappella

Georg Friedrich Händel Concerto grosso F-Dur op. 6 Nr. 2 HWV 320
Johann Sebastian Bach "Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis" - Kantate für Soli, Chor und Orchester BWV 21


I'm not really into the whole festival, but I got a chance to watch a highlight concert of it: Trauer & Trost. Conducted by young-talented conductor, Olaf Boman, the concert delivered a very interesting repertoire. the choir piece by Ingvar Lidholm is truly a moment for life - you can't get it from a CD. Berit Solset shined during the sopran part.  

Both parties of the concert, the famous choir and award-winning orchestra, are well to be celebrated. Such a proud night.

Rating: 8/10


AUBER: Das Bronzene Pferd (27.04.2012, Komische Oper Berlin)

Komische Oper Berlin, Das bronzene Pferd , Bildnummer: S572, Foto: Thomas M. Jauk

It's definitely one of the most entertaining oper I've ever seen. It's a very catchy one, even though musically it's quite hard to differ this work from a broadway production. Serious! But, no, it's quite an oper anyway...

Well, on the production notes it says: "Nur wer das Leben ernst, bitter ernst nimmt, hat auch wirlich Humor." (Immanuel Kant), it's very correct laides and gentleman. Oscar Wilde also has his own wise advice of life, printed on the notes: "Die Maenner heiraten aus Muedigkeit, die Frauen aus Neugierde - und beide sind dann arg enttaeuscht." So, it's clear that the story of this opera revolves around life, specifically, relationship between man and woman, husbie-wifey, sex... all those stuffs. 

This opera uses pandas and monkeys to symbolize the comical similarity between man's and animal's love life, and those two animals also represent China, which is the setting and cultural influence of the piece.

Komische Oper Berlin, Das bronzene Pferd , Bildnummer: S571, Foto: Thomas M. Jauk

Bravo to the Komische Oper Diva! Erika Roos plays the role of Tao Jin, Herr Mandarin's fourth wife. She stole the spotlight that night!! And I guess every night of this production...

Komische Oper Berlin, Das bronzene Pferd , Bildnummer: S560, Foto: Thomas M. Jauk

Komische Oper Berlin, Das bronzene Pferd , Bildnummer: S555, Foto: Thomas M. Jauk

Komische Oper Berlin, Das bronzene Pferd , Bildnummer: S557, Foto: Thomas M. Jauk

Funny scenes, lively jokes *sometimes too much, you forget you're watching an opera*

Komische Oper Berlin, Das bronzene Pferd , Bildnummer: S556, Foto: Thomas M. Jauk

Sung-Keun Park as the Chinese Prince and Annelie Sophie-Mueller as Pe-Ki are also the bright stars.

Komische Oper Berlin, Das bronzene Pferd , Bildnummer: S563, Foto: Thomas M. Jauk

Komische Oper Berlin, Das bronzene Pferd , Bildnummer: S569, Foto: Thomas M. Jauk

Quite dazzling effect for a 'normal' production... 

And this is how they portray Venus in the third act...

Komische Oper Berlin, Das bronzene Pferd , Bildnummer: S564, Foto: Thomas M. Jauk

Komische Oper Berlin, Das bronzene Pferd , Bildnummer: S565, Foto: Thomas M. Jauk

Fun,fun fun. So, conclusion: if you're a classic opera lover, you'll hate this - except if you're open-minded to try something new. For the beginners and you entertainment demanding people, this just fits you perfectly. 

Rating: 8/10

Komische Oper Berlin, Das bronzene Pferd , Bildnummer: S570, Foto: Thomas M. Jauk

Friday, June 29, 2012

WAGNER: LOHENGRIN (25.04.2012, Deutsche Oper Berlin)





Musikalische Leitung 
Inszenierung 
Bühne, Kostüme 
Dramaturgie 
Heinrich der Vogler 
Lohengrin 
Elsa von Brabant 
Friedrich von Telramund 
Ortrud 
Der Heerrufer des Königs 
1. Brabantische Edler 
2. Brabantischer Edler 
3. Brabantischer Edler 
4. Brabantischer Edler 
1. Edelknabe 
2. Edelknabe 
3. Edelknabe 
4. Edelknabe 







What if I told you that today you can get a double treat. First, you will be amazed by the a**-kicking production of the new LOHENGRIN by Deutsche Oper Berlin. Second, you'll learn why Klaus Florian Vogt is the next big thing in this industry.


That night, the show was sold out. So lucky to get the ticket in last minutes, anyway everyone was every excited to see this, especially to see Herr Vogt, performing a Wagner role, his tradmark ever since Baden-Baden Festspiel.




The prologue scene, as pictured above, delivers just the right mood. Stillness turns into a huge soundless mourn. When you saw such opening, you know the whole night's gonna be great.


One question during the first act: why the king has not quite dignity? I mean, he sang loud, but it seems he didn't want to be there. Strange.




Lohengrin comes down  to earth in "swan" form... Gigantic stage effect. The first time I heard Florian Vogt, I just thought about one word: charismatic. I think the role suits him very much. Bravo! Bravo! The end of the first act is just a classic epic. 




The second act: lasers and cross. Three green laser-pillars stand on stage as Ortrud sings her solo aria. Chilling. A giant cross-like structure was built to create an upper room on stage. Later it represents the castle.




No, it's not plasma screen. It's actually a gigantic poster, just the same as many backgrounds created for this production. During the break, a huge black fabric, with a white-stylized "Lohengrin" word written on it, covered the front of the stage. Nice feature...





The choir "sends" Lohengrin back to the sky and the story ends. Everybody went home more than just satisfied. The whole stage thing is beyond good and Florian Vogt rocked the night. I thought the 'Elsa' also did a very good job, but I personally just can't connect to her character, so...


Rating: 9/10


p.s. Klaus Florian Vogt's HELDEN in stores now.









Saturday, June 9, 2012

WAGNER: RIENZI (21.04.2012, Deutsche Oper Berlin)

RIENZI: Der Letzte der Tribunen



Musikalische Leitung 
Inszenierung 
Co-Regie 
Kostüme 
 
URSULA KUDRNA
Rienzi 

Irene 
Steffano Colonna 
Adriano 
Paolo Orsini 
Kardinal Orvieto 
Baroncelli 
Cecco del Vecchio 



If I should name one of the best productions from this season, it must be this: RIENZI. And I specifically use that word 'production' instead of 'opera' or 'play' purposely. Because it's the stage and the concept of the production that caught my attention. On the production notes, the concept of the production said to take a lot of inspiration from the 'mass psychology' from the people in *ehem* North Korea. Yes, Kim Jong-Il for the win! 
For those unfamiliar with the opera, Rienze's plot strongly circles on the title role, as we watch the rise and fall of a dictatorship post-war. Hint: it's Hitler's favorite opera of all time. Sudden change of mood,eh?


Anyway, first thing: the singing. Well, a few excellent arias were delivered by our 'Adriano' Daniela Sindram and of course 'Rienzi' Torsten Kerl. Loudest applause for both that night!! Cheers!

I know, there are no famous arias in this play, well, it's also because it's not on that A-list of 'operas-well-and-most-played'. But listening to the songs of power and dignity of the emperor, people on the crossing of politics, etc. is always interesting right? Warning: explosive political content and reminds you a lot of Germany post WW-I. Well, at least the production made us to.

To the execution: WOW. It's amazing, During the first part of the opera, the stage changed from Rienzi's office to the city in war imagery to the bright beginning of Rienzi's government. The second part begins with the telling losing people on war, sparks of the revolution and last Rienzi's fall due to people's revolution and fightback - captured and took him out of his bunker and shot him. 

Near the end of the first part, the marching scene of the people are quite grandios! With the use of giant screen, picturing Rienzi while giving speech, the scene is just an absolute picture of dictatorship on its glorious moments.


The second part especially, is a very interesting time for the staging. The stage was divided into upper stage (the city and the people) and the lower stage (Rienzi's bunker/hideout). The background of the city is a monitor, so yes, it used a lot of visual and video tech. 



During the last part, the whole choir and cast would freeze while Adriano and Irene singing their love arias with Adriano pursuing to take Irene away to safe place, and she refused to leave his brother, Rienzi and finally also get killed in the revolution. The stop-motion on the upper stage is just amazing!


Very interesting ride, the thrill, the tense! Perfect opera for beginners and curious ones! 

Rating: 9/10