Tuesday, January 31, 2012

V. Abonnement-Konzert: Staatskapelle Berlin, Pietari Inkinen, Hilary Hahn (30.01.2012, Philharmonie)

V. Abonemment Konzert
Staatskapelle Berlin 

Pietari Inkinen  Dirigent

Hilary Hahn  Violine

Béla Bartók

Divertimento für Streichorchester Sz 113 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Violinkonzert Nr. 4 D-Dur KV 218
Jean Sibelius

Symphonie Nr. 5 Es-Dur op. 82

First of all, the reason I came to this concert is Hilary Hahn. I don't ask for more. I just wanted to see her play one or two nice tunes, maybe got bored for the rest of the concert, and then went home with a feeling "I saw Hilary Hahn!!! Tell the world..." while my stomach screamed for food due to cold weather of winter. But, I got more!
I only want to praise this time, so I praise.

Tonight's conductor: Pietari Inkinen - is an (mark my words) ideal young conductor at his top. Not the best, not Karajan, I know, I know. But young and ideal. So if you heard many exciting bowing, lively plucking, intensive drums, well don't be so mad. This Finnish conductor and violinist is a graduate from Sibelius Academy and  Hochschule für Musik Köln. Just turned 31 (so young...), he is now the second music director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (so wow...). And they said, the young the dumb ones. Eat that!
I really love his interpretation of Bartok and Sibelius'. They are very lively and full of excitement. Well, I must admit sometimes all this 'mixing' and 'experimenting' doesn't sound very good combined. But the whole concert is still beyond good, although still not beyond words.
Did I mention that he used to be in a rock band?
Now, meet the second awesome person of the night:

Hilary Hahn. American. Violinist. Most wanted. International. Provoking. Shocking. And more of those kinds of words to describe her career. She is truly innovative and if you don't believe me, google her and her tons of projects.
Tonight I saw a class act shown by Ms. Hahn on stage. Paying attention to every single member of the orchestra while waiting for her part and enjoying every single note of the piece. When she was given the flower bouquet, she plucked one and gave it to the principal violinist of Staatskapelle. Hmm, nice touch for the audience's eyes. 
By the way, Hahn is the audience's main attention during Mozart's Violinkonzert. Her interpretation of the work is very nice, although it's not ground-breaking or whatever to prevent the end of the world. 
Plus, during the break, fans (or sudden fans, like me) could get her autograph. Not having her CD, I decided to ask her autograph on my ticket. And I got it. *Happy and satisfied*

Move on - let's talk about the program. Titled as the fifth subscription-concert, the concert doesn't have clear musical background or theme, other than: it's for those rich people who paid the money once every year in June for a few concerts with superstar guests in the following year.
Even so, each piece seems to stand on its own and doesn't need to have such similarity in theme to be played in a single repertoire. Mozart's Violinkonzert Nr. 4 is the most famous among other Violinkonzerts that he wrote during his early years in Salzburg. Although actually often encouraged by his own father to train his violin play, Mozart later made more concerts for pianos (as we know) in Vienna and never looked back - never wrote a concert piece for violin anymore. 
Much modern pieces performed tonight are Bartok's Divertimento for String Orchetra and Sibelius' Symphonie Nr. 5Paul Sacher, a Swiss conductor, patron, impresario, and the founder of the Basel Chamber Orchestra (Basler Kammerorchester), commissioned Bartók to compose the Divertimento, which is finished in two weeks in the middle of his personal struggles to leave his home country, Hungary, which was under the reign of Nazi. Tonight's performance of the piece is quite energetic and lively, watching these wonderful strings moved all together is simply a beauty. 
Sibelius was commissioned to write this Symphony Nr. 5 by the Finnish government in honor of his 50th birthday, which had been declared a national holiday. For this modern interpretation, Inkinen used the orchestra in its full force, actually more than what's required for its original version. But the result is simply fantastic. After a few minutes of grand-intense strings and drums in the third movement, the six chords came (Sibelius' original idea and trademark of this piece) and closed the night. 
Clap your hands now!

As a bonus, you can watch Hahn performing the exact same piece (in another occasion) below:

Inkinen's interpretation is a little more lively than the man's in video above (whoever he is) - in my opinion. 

Rating: 8.5/10


Il Trionfo Del Tempo E Del Disingano

Conductor: Marc Minkowski

Director: Jürgen Flimm & Gudrun Hartmann

Stage design: Erich Wonder

Costume design: Florence von Gerkan

Choreography: Catharina Lühr
Light design: Martin Gebhardt
Dramaturgy: Ronny Dietrich & Detlef Giese

Bellezza: Sylvia Schwartz
Disinganno: Delphine Galou
Tempo: Charles Workman
Piacere: Inga Kalna

Les Musiciens du Louvre - Grenoble

An oratorio? Interesting, I've never seen anything quite like this before - we don't we give a shot? And that one shot, yup, is quite successful. Trying to be as modern and entertaining, yet quite classic, as it can be, the interpretation by Herr Flimm is more than just refreshing for this oratorio. Taking the set in a 1920's Parisian bar, the whole conversation about God and the world from Händel's very first oratorio is filled with eye-candies of real and surreal figures on stage. 

Yes, this is quite a massive production. From the number of actors to the costumes and properties. Don't forget the set and the whole technique on stage... 
Move to the cast. One thing I found quite 'nice' is how each character in this opera doesn't overcome each other. Oh, well at least in this interpretation. If I had to pick the highlight of the night, that would be our diva Inga Kalna portraying Piacere. The reason is quite obvious, first, she nailed the "Lascia la spina" (the most famous aria of this oratorio, later re-used by the composer himself as "Laschia ch'io pianga" in his 1711 opera Rinaldo). The second reasons is  her performance of "Come Nembo che fugge col vento" almost at the end of the play - ended with a blast, I mean real BLAST. See the last picture to go wow. 

Written by Händel during his Rome years, the oratorio centered on the battle of truth & time against the comfort in humans' conscience. Well, as the title said, truth and time won the fight and turning the main character Belezza (the 'Beauty' or can be interpreted as the 'human) in to nun. Yes, a nun. And they really dressed her as a nun, in this modern production. Viva Katolisismus!!!

Originally a production from Opernhaus Zurich, the 3-hour-play is premiered in Berlin on 15.01.2012, and my show is the fifth. By the next month, this opera will disappear from Berlin's scene and head to the next city (maybe).

And here is the libretto book, contains shots of a few scenes:

Rating: 7/10

And, like I said, the fire is totally under control and in purpose. Cherish the experience!

The Official Trailer below:

Mozart: DIE ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL (14.01.2012, Schiller Theater)

Staatsoper Unter Den Linden im Schiller Theater

Conductor: Christopher Moulds

Director: Michael Thalheimer

Set Design: Olaf Altmann

Costume Design: Katrin Lea Tag

Chorus Master: Eberhard Friedrich

Bassa Selim: Sven Lehmann
Konstanze: Christine Schäfer
Blonde: Anna Prohaska
Belmonte: Kenneth Tarver
Pedrillo: Florian Hoffmann
Osmin: Andreas Hörl

Staatskapelle Berlin

»Diese zwei Stunden nahezu nackte Mozart-Musik haben, altmodisch ausgedrückt, ein Geheimnis, eine Aura …« (Der Tagesspiegel)

Yes, indeed. It'a very modern interpretation of Mozart, but also felt so dear to the original (in the play atmosphere, not in the production). The whole costume it's like a chic version of Vera Wang fashion show. Despite its simplicity, this opera rocks. 
Mainly beacuse of the strong performances of the soprans: Prohaska and Schäfer. Frau Schäfer has successfully conquered the difficult arias in this work, while the Blonde character came into life through Prohaska's interpretation. 

Dominant on black and white, this production used two "floors" on the stage to represent the Seraglio (Serail) castle. 

Simple and (sometimes) quite boring. We actually want to see the whole grand, castle set, and we got... nothing. But anyway, since the beginning, this is a very modern production. Does that mean a degradation - no comment.

Opened with Basa Selim standing on the upper stage, staring at audience, the whole opera depends on the singing performances and surprises during the whole 2 hours ans 10 minutes. Many dialogues are also translated to English, making this interpretation quite (ehm...) gangsta. 

Below is medium quality clip of what to-be-called the best scene of the night: the dialogue between Blonde and Osmin. Prohaska rocked the whole building. (Warning: contains implicit sex scenes)

Anyway at the end of the play, I enjoyed my two hours. It's full of eyes-and-ears fest and wows, so no complain. Even though it's a pity for the new season in May we've lost both our divas on the main roles. We miss you.

Plus, some little souvenirs from the night: the libretto book is very luxurious black-white-gold, filled with in-depth essays of the background and modern implementation of this Mozart's work of art.  

Rating: 8/10

And did I mention this is their thirtieth show after its Berlin premiere on 07.06.2009?
Keep up the good job!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Weihnachtskonzert: Philharmonie der Nationen (01.12.2011, Konzerthaus Berlin)

Donnerstag, 01.12.11 | 20.00 Uhr | Großer Saal


Kammerphilharmonie der Philharmonie der Nationen

Volker Schmidt-Gertenbach

Christopher Tainton Klavier

Arcangelo Corelli Concerto grosso g-Moll op. 6 Nr. 8 ("fatto per la notte di natale")

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Es-Dur KV 271

Giovanni Battista Sammartini Sinfonie A-Dur

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Sinfonie A-Dur KV 201

-Even before I have my own Classic Card, I already did watch a concert in December 2011. And yup, we got a discount from Groupon and instead 32,20 € - we pay only half of it. After a little problem before the concert (doesn't matter what), I got in and without much time to be amused by the interior of the Konzerthaus, the show started. This concert is originally supposed to be conducted by Justus Frantz BUT he was sick so some guy (?? sorry I can't remember the name, but I remember he is a -said to be- close friend of the supposed conductor) replaced Frantz. Quite a shame - maybe that's why they lowered the price?

Philharmonie der Nationen is a name I honestly never heard before. Shame shame on me, but I guess that's because this orchestra is only 15 years old. Very very very young, indeed. 
The whole concert it self is, sigh, nothing special, but not bad either. Guess it's one of those normal days... Honestly Tainton on piano didn't steal the public attention. He - in my opinion- simply tried too hard.

The whole repertoire was actually quite good though, but not taking the obvious-for-Christmas pieces. Two Mozart pieces combines with works by Corelli and Sammartini could have made this concert a solid grand Baroque Christmas that cheered the public, in fact it didn't happen. 
After all, what I know. Maybe it's just me who couldn't enjoy my first concert here in Berlin. Or blame the sick conductor?
So I must really say, to review this, it's very subjective. 
Cheers though to everyone on the stage.

I appreciate the "Air" by Bach as an encore, but please: that's not Christmas.

Rating: 6/10

First thing First.

First of all, I am blessed to be in Berlin. It's exactly where everyone meets each other, and the same thing happens to classic music. Famous musicians, conductors, and orchestras come and pay us a visit in Berlin. I wasn't a know-all of the classic stuff, but since one-two years ago I'm starting to love it. Now I L.O.V.E. it. Second, I wouldn't be here if it's not because of Aula Simfonia Jakarta. What's that and all those stuffs about this concert hall are quite a topic, but that's for later. Third - and the most important: I got a chance to see all these classical concerts and operas in a very friendly (if not very cheap) price. How? Learn here: www.classiccard.de and maybe you could experience this wonderful journey as I do. Enough talking. Let's see, experience and review more!