Saturday, February 18, 2012

MOZART: LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (17.02.2012, Staatsoper im Schiller Theater)

Die Hochzeit des Figaro

Musikalische Leitung Daniel Barenboim
Inszenierung Thomas Langhoff
Bühnenbild Herbert Kapplmüller
Kostüme Yoshi'o Yabara
Graf Almaviva Artur Rucinski
Gräfin Almaviva Dorothea Röschmann
Susanna Anna Prohaska
Figaro Vito Priante
Cherubino Christine Schäfer
Marcellina Katharina Kammerloher
Basilio Abdellah Lasri
Bartolo Maurizio Muraro
Barbarina Narine Yeghiyan
Antonio Olaf Bär
Don Curzio Paul O’Neill

It's magic.

When you got Daniel Barenboim conducting 1 meter in front of you, you just wanna cry. Still very energetic and lively while conducting - but I shouldn't have to comment the musical director of my city. WE know how good he is. Period.

The best thing of the night is: the whole thing just 'clicked'. There's no scene-in-a-scene (scene-ception!) or man on fire, but this classic interpretation (very classic for our time, indeed) just fits perfectly to what I and we expected from a production of Mozart's. 

The stars of the night are of course: The Divas. And I personally think that Christine Schäfer stands out for taking the castrato role, Cherubino. It's very interesting to see her shake off those diva-glitter and become a 'man' or 'boy' to be precise. Shout out also goes to Artur Rucinski for giving us an 'entertainment' - he simply played his role total.

The set. Classic and simple, but it's enough. It's quite interesting to see the small details on the wall or simply the furniture. And I love the way the actors use the very spacious stage. A little critics, I personally think the wedding scene is not quite 'wow' enough. It's too simple - and compared to the production in Deutsche Oper that I saw on a preview- it's a boo. But nothing's perfect anyway.

At the end of day, I MUST suggest you to buy your tickets and watch this. Especially YOU, who miss such a classic and elegant production in this very modern (sometimes, too modern it lost the charm) opera scene of Berlin.

Rating: 9/10

*I don't know why there are so few photos and not a single video from this season in the internet. But believe me, this season is far far better than the previous ones due to Barenboim and of course, the cast.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

TCHAIKOVSKY: EUGENE ONEGIN (10.02.2012, Staatsoper im Schiller Theatre)


Musikalische Leitung Pietari Inkinen
Inszenierung | Bühnenbild | Lichtkonzeption Achim Freyer
Kostüme Lena Lukjanova
Licht Olaf Freese
Tatjana Anna Samuil
Filipjewna Margarita Nekrasova
Eugen Onegin Roman Trekel
Lenski Arnold Rutkowski
Fürst Gremin Kwangchul Youn
Saretzki Arttu Kataja
Ein Hauptmann Alin Anca

Tonight is magic. The escape to a world-well at least visually-different as ours. It's the fifteenth show for Eugene Onegin/Eugen Onegin (German)/ Евгений ОнегинYevgény Onégin (Russian) by the Staatsoper Berlin. Yummy! I got this chance to experience what does "lyrical scene" really means - and it's love. Composed in 3 acts (7 scenes) and adapted from a book by Alexander Puhskin, I admit: Maestro Tchaikovsky, as the rest of the world know, is a genius. Day to day, I can relate more to these pieces (instrumental works or simply opera) from the east side of Europe. Our same piece of cake called 'pain', everyone?

I must honestly, the mood of the whole audience tonight is quite (how to say this, okay...) plain bad. The casts didn't even come out for the third time, after knowing that our hands are simply tired or frozen due to this winter weather in Berlin. I personally found nothing wrong with the show, but somehow all the hard work seemed to be not appreciated. My deepest condolence to the whole cast and crew. 
With all this bad mood (and a jerk guy sitting next to me, recorded the show a few short times - but hey, thanks to these people, I got preview videos to be put on the post #dilemma), I'm trying to calm my mind and review the tonight's show in its most honest form. So:

The show is a genius. Applause goes to the people behind the scene, especially Achim Freyer - the brain behind this adaption of Tchaikovsky's work. From the stage and (especially) the light - they're just a feast for the eyes. No, no, as you can see from the pictures below, it's not a colorful concept or the mega-changing stage. It's very very black & white, quite dark and gloomy, but that's the whole entertainment. We can really get into the feel of the scene, not through the gesture or acting of the cast, but through this whole concept. 

Anyway, what's really really genius about this production is during 3 hours, we actually watch a basically exact same scene cycle for 4 times. Uh, boring right? NO!!! Instead of doing the usual staging and unnecessary figures, each of the moves, gestures and characters displayed in a scene cycle, serves also for the next cycle in a very very different scene. Confused? Sorry, it's just my bad English. So for example, when the main characters are singing on the center of the stage, a wild man suddenly comes in, walks very strange, doing nothing, walking back and forth -WTF? But then it turns out that this "wild" man is another main character for a scene that appeared in another cycle. Vice versa, when the characters of a scene singing, sometimes they can't be at the the center of the stage, because for another scene at the exact time of the cycle, the center belongs to other characters. See it for yourself to prove and experience. Genius level 110%. 

Anyway, about the cast. Hmm, looks like there's not really a single standout this evening. So sad. There a few golden moments, when the characters Tatjana, Lenski, and Fuerst Germin performed each their solo airs. But the glory didn't last long. Blame us, the audience, for clapping our hands not long enough!

Anyway my experience tonight taught me one thing: watch all those russian operas! 

Rating: 8.5/10

*Did you know, that Rolando Villazón and Rene Pape were also cast of this production? Unfortunately they're not anymore. Well, here's a glance to the past - Villazon as Lenski + interview:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gemeinschafts-Komposition: Sol Gabetta, Henri Sigfridsson (01.02.2012, Konzerthaus Berlin)

Mittwoch, 01.02.12 | 20.00 Uhr | Großer Saal

Reihe | Artist in Residence


Sol Gabetta Violoncello
Henri Sigfridsson Klavier

Ludwig van Beethoven Sieben Variationen über das Duett "Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen" aus Mozarts Oper "Die Zauberflöte" für Klavier und Violoncello Es-Dur WoO 46
Ludwig van Beethoven Sonate für Klavier und Violoncello A-Dur op. 69
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Sonate für Violoncello und Klavier D-Dur op. 58
Adrien-François Servais Fantaisie sur deux Airs Russes op. 13

For your information - it was Mihaela Ursuleasa, a "wild"-talented young pianist who played for tonight's concert. Ursuleasa has worked with Gabetta for a Sony Classical release a few years ago, and I actually hoped to see the chemistry of these "long time" friends in the concert. But Ursuleasa is sick, so... Herr Sigfridsson is the replacement. <Why every time I went to Konzerthaus one person is sick and "almost" destroyed my whole mood to watch the concert?>

Well, at least we still got Sol Gabetta!

The night started quite good with the Beethoven's Variations of Mozart's The Magic Flute. Sounds weird for you? Yes, for me too - at first. It turned out during Beethoven's time, it was quite a trend for a composer to make variations from the operas. Hmm... interesting fact. Since the beginning of the concert I got the feeling, that the absence of Ursuleasa on piano has impacted on the "flow and mood" of the concert. Gabetta's focus and determination while playing seemed to be unmatched by (how to describe this...?) sometimes too-laid-back and average play of Sigfridsson. Well, he played good the whole night, but it was like "7/10" good not "8/10" good. 

Beethoven's Sonata is the second piece of the night. And still somehow I felt, it didn't quite catch the audience's attention. And the came the break. Wondering why a supposed-to-be-great night with Gabetta turned out to be one of those "normal" days.

Heaven answered our prayer, no matter if you're Catholic or atheist watching the concert. after the break, Gabetta rocked the building. Bartholdy's Sonata was played in a smoother way, by both of our instrumentalists. Beside the fact that I do like the work, we can feel that this piece accommodate their connection and feel while playing in better ways. Maybe because it's a more modern piece?

The last one of the night is Servais' Fantaisie. Not really famous for his works, I learned a lot about this composer from the programm booklet. Maybe you should check it too. Or must. Anyway, on this piece, Gabetta really really showed her skill. When she played, it's like you’re really hypnotized by the sound. A good piece for cello, eh?

So that’s it? The night went very fast, I thought. But, of course as usual before we went home, we had an encore. Sorry, two encores. Uhm, actually no we had three... no yet-four encores! Four! And this is the “wow” minutes. The audience really loved the encores, these 4 pieces that I don’t know what or by whom (damn my knowledge). We didn’t want the night to be over. Why would we? Gabetta seemed to really enjoy these pieces (self-handpicked?) and Sigfridsson also played with more enthusiasm, even more than what he had showed during the program. Gabetta waved her hands to say goodbye and give the signal: “Okay this fourth is really really the last time. Please go home now.” Okay then... it’s over.

But the real event for me has just begun. The autograph session. I intentionally brought her Elgar CD to be signed. And of course I got her autograph! I thought I would say this in front of her face: “Madam, I personally think that you’re the best cellist of my generation. Thank you for introducing me to Elgar’s Cello Concerto, which now is my theme. Thank you for your Vivaldi projects. And thank you for giving us 4 encores tonight. I adore you and remember you forever!”, but then I reduced it to “Your play tonight is very wonderful. I’m glad I could finally hear you live.”

Don’t wanna look like a crazy fan!! Anyway, here’s the living proof:  

Rating: 7/10
But because of the encores, autograph and Sol Gabetta, I give this plus 1.
So 8/10!

Viva Gabetta!