Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Summer is gone.

Yes. Summer is gone. Since then, so many great things happened to me. Or maybe not.
1. Salzburger Festspiele: Instead of catching those performances live, I saw them on medici.tv, ORF website, ARTE LIVE, and even Youtube(!) y'all. High class at the lowest price. I did go to Salzburg, JUST to pick up the programm books. Shame on me. Anyway, this year's Falstaff is my fave. Maestri rocked the house. Peter Stein's unimaginative and flat production of Don Carlo is boring as hell, despite its almost perfect ensemble. I mean, there's safe, then there's Stein. Awful. Netrebko triumphs as usual.
2. Musikfest Berlin: Wunderbar. Royal Concertgebouw and Berlin Phil definitely are the cool kids among others. Yefim Bronfman played Bartok's Piano Concert No. 3 with Concertgebouw: moment of the year. Janacek's Glagolistische Messe by Berlin Phil is simply mind-blowing. Deutsche Oper Orchester gave a very interesting programm with Britten's Les Illuminations (Soloist: Klaus Florian Vogt) and Shostakovich. Other orchestra played fairly good to very good.
3. Staatsoper Berlin - SAISONAUFTAKT: Premiere of Zarksja Newesta or The Tsar's Bride from Nikolaj Rimsky-Korsakow. Mind-blowing. Awesome. All the praise in the world. Director Dmitri Tcherniakov should be crowned 'king'. Technically very imaginative and also difficult to be executed, the production offers a very modern infusion to an opera seemed already far away from modern context. Olga Peretyatko fits the role of Marfa perfectly. I didn't really like Kotcherga that night at the premiere, but still - well done. The rest of the cast did a great job. Plus: Anita Rachvelishvili is THE DIVA in the house. Rating: 8/10
4. Deutsche Oper Berlin - AUFTAKT: Verdi's Nabucco. A good production, although not very eye-catching at the end of the night. The cast did quite a good job. Overall good, but not a must. Rating: 6/10

Coming up next:
- Berliner Philharmoniker is BACK!!! ... with Bach's Matthew Passion. Awesome 2010 all over again.
- Netrebko + Domingo + Barenboim = Berliner Staatsoper's Il Trovatore - a preview of what kind of greatness waiting in Salzburg in summer 2014. The opera event of the year.
- Livestream of Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten and Verdi's La Forza del Destino from Bavarian State Opera
- Do you know starting from November Vienna State Opera will also livestream their productions? BUT NOT FOR FREE! One ticket costs 14 Euro. Still gonna get'em anyway...
- New Year's Eve Gala with Kaufmann - Fleming - Thielemann at Semperoper Dresden!!!
- and many more...

2014 will be so awesome, my bones can feel it already. And my pockets too. They're just keep losing weight in the past few months. Paying those 'reservations'.

-MS-

Thursday, June 20, 2013

DEAD.

I hereby announce the death of this blog. Life at college has been unbeliveably stressful as what I've ever imagined. It saddened me, that I must cut off quite most of my free time, going to concert & opera houses... and changed it with biochemistry books.

http://konzertkritikopernkritikberlin.wordpress.com/ is the blog that I recently discovered. Go, check it out, it's in German (definitely more reader-suited than my blog), the author of the blog really masters classical music (unlike me) and his writings are anything but boring. His blog is definitely the vision that I had when I started this blog.

So what's there for me? Some concerts and operas as season closing in Berlin. I'll go back to Salzburg in summer (around the end of August), because my very first experience with Salzburger Festspiele (unarranged 1-day-trip from Berlin to Salzburg to catch all 3 performances at Whitsun Sunday including Bellini's "Norma" with Cecilia Bartoli - and back) was way beyond good and a great personal milestone on my list of things-to-do. Wish me luck for that, 'cause I still have no tickets or reservations, and it's actually only a personal "sudden" trip-extension from my Europe-tournee. I'll start in Paris, then Zürich, bla bla, Venice and finally Rome. Then comes Salzburg. Twala... and having such a fantastic summer plan - people won't believe, that I'm having a stressful life.

Well, I'll update a little on this blog 'bout this & that in the future. See you around the corner. I mean that boring corner, where I'm holding a glass of wine or apfelschorle during a concert break, looking fatique, lonely, miserable, and all alone by myself. As usual.

BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAM! And I'm gonna cut it here, before the summer-insanity-syndrome strucks me again.

-MS

Friday, April 5, 2013

MOZART: La Finta Giardiniera / Die Pforten der Liebe (24.11.2012, Staatsoper Berlin im Schiller Theater)


SHAME ON HANS NEUENFELS. The production of this piece is very bad, the dramaturgy is very bad. The modern , often sexual, jokes didn't fit well with Mozart's "colorful" music.


It's a shame that Dasch and other great singers involved in this project didn't get the 'whole' credit they deserved. Even though they all did their parts very wonderful. Dasch and Rügamer are actually for the win. Even Moulds, a Mozartian himself, couldn't save this production. So help yourself, don't watch this.

Rating: 4/10 

VIENNA SPECIAL: Musikverein mit Claudio Abbado & Alceste at Vienna State Opera (21. - 22.11.2012)




So ladies and gentlemen, my longing for a musical trip has once again took me to a strange land: Austria, specifically: Vienna. Two nights were all I got - and I did it good.

The first night is my time for the Golden Hall of Musikverein Wien. That night Abbado brought his ensemble of talented musicians of Orchestra Mozart to support him. Starts with Schumann's "Genoveva" Overture, Abbado shows that he's a black horse on podium. A very passionate conducting - thoughtful and precise.  

His Schumann's No. 2 are indeed very good. But not his best, perhaps? It seemed as it just went away so fast. Well, another interpretation is, I enjoyed it too much that I just went past it. 

After Beethoven's "Coriolan", the concert closes with Mendelssohn's No. 3 "Schottische" - magnificent.
Non-stop applause and flowers poured (not thrown - poured) on stage... never in Berlin. 


For my second night in Vienna I headed to the big old grand world-famous top-of-its-class State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper). With a little generosity from the guy at the box office, I got a frist class ticket for only 40 Euros. Thank you, Sir. May you live prosper, now and forever...


Gens did a very wonderful job portraying the queen in Despair, Alceste herself. Very clear vocal, sympathetic acting - yet a brave portrait of a woman. Joseph Kaiser is on the other hand quite weird on stage. Due to his illness, he can't sing. A singer (name??? - I forgot) took over the vocal part, while he the acting. During the first part, Kaiser didn't even try to mimic the lyrics - in the second he did. Such a sore to the eye when such things happen to the leading role. 


Ivor Bolton for the win. Freiburger Barockorchester didn't only deliver the opera, they geared it up, making it even more beautiful and passionate. Also another plus point from the production, maybe?


Wien for the WIN. Can't wait until next time.

Abbado: 8/10
Alceste: 7/10

MOZART: Die Zauberflöte (16.11.2012, Staatsoper Berlin im Schiller Theater)


Yes, The Magic Flute is an old story... You know the story, you know Papageno, you know... everything. Or do you?
A very classic production. Using the original Schinkel's stage image - the production seems to be 'immortal' and quite 90's at the same time. It's an everlasting creation, undefeated and unchangeable since 1994 anyway...
The cast of the night is good. Pavol Breslik is quite a sympathetic Tamino. Our Papageno got a huge applause - almost as usual. 
A must-see production, based alone on its production material. Well a "star" cast could be a nice addition in the future.
Everybody's safe and sleeps sound back home. 

Rating: 8/10

ANNA NETREBKO: Tschaikovsky's Iolanta (14.11.2012, Philharmonie Berlin)

Fasten your seat belt, 'cause it's Netrebko time...!

Let's set aside the bad stuffs, and concentrate on this: the very fact that Netrebko herself came to Berlin to do a concert of this wonderful piece of opera, too often fall out of most opera houses' program due to its short length, is a dream came true. Back in 2005, her version of Iolanta's aria as the opening track of "Russian Album" with Gergiev mesmerized us - an early prophecy? Anyway, the Russian repertoire is definitely safe in the hands of Netrebko for its long long legacy to be preserved. 

Netrebko did fantastic that night. Brave, grand voice - soft and touching on sad moments. Viva Netrebko! Viva! Brava! Unstoppable...

Some of the cast that night (and of this whole 'Iolanta' tour across Europe) are good, some are not eligible enough to stand beside Netrebko. Vitalij Kowaljow is no question superb and suits his role. We got a clumsy Vaudemont , Sergey Skorokhodov, who almost tripped on one of the stairs on stage - yes, it shows. Vassily Savenko as Ebn-Hakia are very convincing. The rest are well, well, well... 

In Philharmonie am Gasteig, Munich - after 'Iolanta' concert

The Slovenia Philarmonics, despite its "trials and tribulations" are indeed good. Villaume was definitely successful in delivering this play of emotion, from darkness to light, from blindness to a bright world - an adoration to God, just as the closing aria emplies, is what I felt the most.

Good news - this tour is a start of Netrebko's project portraying many (all?) roles in Russian operas, later released by the yellow label. Yes, I'm gonna grab one of those. 

Rating: 8/10

After Baden-Baden: Only First Class

I just made my holiday to Baden-Baden & Stuttgart. My school starts soon and a huge pile of program books filled up my cupboard. It's way too much of work and I'm too lazy to write ALL these reviews. So from now on I'll start doing the reviews only for "first class" concert. This thing is actually quite inspired by the repertoire/ program of the Festspielhaus Baden-baden, that I just visited to catch Berliner Philharmonics' The Magic Flute. The city is magical, the easter festival's atmosphere is in the air. Very inspiring.
Now that's been settled - I may continue this blog's journey.






Tuesday, March 19, 2013

BARENBOIM-ZYKLUS mit JONAS KAUFMANN (Philharmonie Berlin, 30.09.2012)


On a windy Sunday morning during fall 2012, Jonas Kaufmann visited Berlin for an unusual event: a song matinee. It opens the Barenboim-Cycle at Staatsoper Berlin. The programm of the day is the most-beloved German song-cycle (said-to-be), Schubert's Die schoene Muellerin. 
It's a "tried-and-true" concert. Kaufmann has made himself an album of this very-famous-song cycle with Helmut Deutsch. The piece accompanied by Barenboim on solo piano was very smooth; it's in their blood anyway. Or it seems to be. 
No questions. No doubt. It's a great afternoon.

Rating: 8/10


JOYCE DIDONATO: DRAMA QUEENS (Konzerthau Berlin, 07.11.2012)


It's raining DIVAS on Berlin. On a special concert in Konzerthaus, the Berliner were stoned by the beauty, elegance and the voice of the goddess Joyce DiDonato. Despite her very few appearances in West Europe every year, her concerts still meet good response, so that night.  

DiDonato was there to promote her new, amazing album: Drama Queens. From Monteverdi to Handel, BAROQUE would be the new word in any non-classical-music lovers' dictionary after hearing this album. Identical to the album, the concert is unbelievably amazing. Pure, fiery vocal on arias such "Da torbida procella" and "Col versar, barbaro, il sangue" meet her wonderful and passionate interpretation on Porta's "Madre diletta, abbracciami" or Monteverdi's classic "Disprezzata regina" from POPPEA.  

Led by Dmitry Sinkovsky, Il Compleso Barocco - one of the world's leading baroque-ensemble by Alan Curtis -  serves as an ensemble able to put fire and passion to classic baroque arias, as well as seldom-interpreted works. 


On the fashion side, the red multi-looks gown from Vivienne Westwood fits DiDonato very well. Another feast for the eyes. 
On the meet & greet session I got my album signed and was able to greet her and wished her all the best for the Echo this year. Or any other awards there are. Because DRAMA QUEENS stands as one of the two strongest baroque vocal album of 2012.
(The other one is Simone Kermes' DRAMMA in case you ask.)



Grab your own now and enjoy the 12-songs-long trip to heaven!
Rating: 10/10 

PUCCINI: TURANDOT (Deutsche Oper Berlin, 27.10.2012)


It's too bad - despite a good ensemble, this production didn't able to elevate me. Alfred Kim definitely did her role as Calaf very well and his "Nessun dorma" succeeded. Our Turandot, Catherine Foster, is a good singer on her role, as we expected and at the same time demanded by this role, although she is still far from extraordinary.
This production falls on the concept. Seems a little cheap and tried too hard to present the modern full-force-tyrant-version English-royalty-like version of Turandot, the setting is simply dull. For me, the classic Chinese-galore-and-glamour, such as the Met production with Andris Nelsons, still fits the opera way better than any stupid so-called "innovations" on the interpretation of such operas like Turandot with specific backgrounds and strong visual settings.  




Very decent production that was only saved by the greatness of Maestro Puccini himself. Viva Puccini and may his legacy lives forever and more.
Rating: 5/10

CECILIA BARTOLI: MISSION (Philharmonie Berlin, 29.10.2012)


My first time encounter with Bartoli isn't as pleasant as I thought: blame the stupid b**** on the box office for giving me bad seat on the last class, behind the stage - while many seats on the first class are still empty (not that much, but quite) - so I can't be able to hear Bartoli's voice clearly. The instruments are far far too loud... Shame on me with my box office ticket trick.
Even so, one thing is clear: BARTOLI is GOD-DESS! Her voice may be not as good as many years ago, as many believe and think so, she still stands as one of the best interpreters of our time. You deal with that. Whether it's on the striking opening "Schiere invitte", glorious "Mie fide schierre, all'armi", or even the classic and everlasting - Bartoli's own- "Laschia la spina", she's over the top. Heavenly voice, may Thou come bless these poor people... 
Diego Fasolis, a very intuitive leader of the night, is definitely a perfect companion for this MISSION project. With his creation, I Barocchisti, not only he was able to present the music in all of its sensitivity and authentic sound (important for such premiere project as MISSION), creativity gets in the way for the right moments, the right arias. Definitely based on Cecilia's idea, the "fight" between the vocal part and the trumpet post-aria "A facile vittoria" couldn't get any better. It's entertaining, musically challenging, in one pack.


Beside my depressing reality, sitting on the worst seat ever imagined - the concert is absolutely superb.
Rating: 9/10
Seat rating: To hell, you lady on the box office.

Concert photo from Wien (from Cecilia's official FB page)

Monday, March 11, 2013

PUCCINI: Madama Butterfly (26.10.2012, Staatsoper Berlin)


We all know the story and we all know it's a very "romantic" opera. And how come you resist "Un Bel Di"? 
The praise went to Elizabeth Caballero, our Cio-Cio-San, who was able to fit the character. Her wittiness, her tragic life, her passion, and finally her death. Her performance is an ecstasy of vocal brilliance. 
The chorus ensemble of house also serves as a proud partner all along. 
the set itself is pretty simple, focuses on the house of Cio-Cio-San with a bit of changes here and there, matching the story line. 
A great ending where the whole stage closed upfront with black, and it's only Madama Butterfly and her son, just a few moments before her suicide. It's definitely the peak of the feelings.


Rating: 8/10

Berliner Philarmoniker & Andris Nelsons (24.10.2012, Philharmonie Berlin)


Andris Nelsons is one of the most celebrated young conductors of our time. His post in Birmingham doesn't stop him from pursuing an international (currently-mega) carrer in all music capitals of the world. Berliner Philharmoniker is also one of the 'regulars' in his conducting list. Tonight he opened the concert with his very wonderful interpretation of "Passacaglia" from Britten's Peter Grimes. simply astonishing. Passionate and grand.


The first part of the concert was used to premiere the Violin Concert from Jörg Widmann. A relatively-new piece in one movement, the piece sounded quite complex. The solo parts and the orchestra worked together creating a piece that (seems to) never end, and yet offers new sounds by every step. Tetzlaff seems to bond so well with this piece that he premiered in Essen himself.
The second part of the concert is Debussy's La Mer and La Valse. Quite considered as a regular repertoire in our concerts, Nelsons' La Mer is very huge and passionate. He was able to catch the sense of the piece and present its glory to the audience. Thanks to the percussion section too for that...

Indeed, a night of Nelsons.
Rating: 8/10

Berliner Philharmoniker, Kristjan Jävri (20.10.2012, Philharmonie Berlin)


Don't you hate it when the conductor's sick and someone should be the replacement. It should've been Myung-Whun Chung who stood there as the conductor that night. But he's got a family issue. So here we are, with Kristjan Järvi. Thank God they still can get a good replacement, but considering this as Philharmoniker, it's a must anyway.

Th night opened with a Rhapsodisk-Ouverture by Carl Nielsen. Decent on the composition, and please don't judge me. I simply think this one as a filler.
The first main content of the night is Messiaen's L'Ascension. The orchestra went aesthetic, a bit meditative, and sounded very big. Such a grand pleasure.
Tschaikowsky's Fourth Symphony closed the night. without any of my comments, you know it was good. Such romanticism blended with passion. Thanks to Järvi who was able to get all the strenght of the orchestra out, the night definitely didn't waste.

Rating: 8/10

Anne-Sophie Mutter & Trondheim Soloists (14.10.12, Philharmonie Berlin)

Anne-Sophie Mutter, Anne-Sophie Mutter mit Mendelssohns Violinkonzert bei Arte Maestro

It's Anne Sophie time!!!
The highlight of the evening is definitely the classic Anne-Sophie's fans' favorite  Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Can't believe I was able to finally hear her live playing this piece. Such concentration  Such power. What makes the evening even more special is the presence of The Trondheim Soloists, an ensemble group who's known long as Mutter's chamber music proud partner and of course has a world-renowned fame on their own. It fits. The Trondheim Soloists are also Mutter's partner in the making of her now iconic album of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

Anne-Sophie Mutter Vivaldi: Le Quattro Stagioni (Shm-CD) Album Cover

It's not all Vivaldi. The first part of the concert is dedicated to the music of Previn, Mutter long-time musical and ex-love partner. A renowned composer on his own, his Concert No. 2 for Violin and String Orchestra was premiered that night. Already a dedicate to Mutter, the piece serves as a usual subtle, humble composition of Previn as we know. It's light, yet technically should be played at virtuoso level. Very interesting. Opened with Britten's Simple Symphony No. 4, the concert worked perfectly, regardless of the difference in music style and time of both parts of the concert. 


Rating: 7.5/10

DONIZETTI: L'ELISIR D' AMORE (13.10.2012, The Metropolitan Opera)



It's the season opening of The Met in NY. Anna Netrebko stands for the second time as the 'Diva' to open a whole new season packed with goodies. Everyone's excited... but:
The first problem that I recognized after the production had ended is, the opera doesn't suit as a season opening AT ALL. Not only it's a repertoire from the previous season, it seems the Met management had fallen into the the evening or not. Oh well well well...


Netrebko as Adina shines as usual and proved that she's not only a diva for tragic, sad roles but also a lively one, capable of doing a dazzling spectacle and uplift the mood on stage.
Surprise of the night comes from our Dulcamara, Maurizio Benini, who shake the stage with his outstanding comical act and brilliant vocal technique. It seems the night belongs to him. 
Both gentlemen, lovers of Adina, have also tried so hard, indeed, but I can't help myself to score their performance as only "good - decent" and Met standard meets.
Anyway, it was a good night. Not so satisfying but anyway... A little comment about the live stream event: I thought watching an opera at the movies would be boring/weird, but it turns out to be "ok" - if it wasn't because of the "Windows warning" that popped up during a scene. Shame on you, projector man or whoever responsible for this. Those people at multimedia section of the operas should start to discipline themselves, because this 'live-stream' thing is probably the next best thing in the history of opera EVER.

Rating: 7/10
Netrebko and Benini were definitely the stars of the night, so you must give them an extra applause for selling this production. 

BERG / Olga Neuwirth: American Lulu (06.10.12, Komische Oper Berlin)


Simply a fresh re-interpretation from one of the most beloved new music operas. With the 60's-70's American background and Lulu as African-American woman, this production offers the 'jazzy' yet darker edgier Lulu as ever before. Bravo to Marisol Montalvo for portraying Lulu with such care-free, yet dark and cold elegance that takes us deep into her world of intrigue and game of power. 


The real hero of the opera is definitely our Eleanor (Della Miles), who, with her husky voice and strong stage presence, becomes a true character of 'truth' and 'what's right' in Lulu's world. 


The opera got an extension  a prologue and additional third act, with music and content homemade by Neuwirth in 5 years time by Neuwirth herself. It is indeed very interesting to see Olga Neuwirth able to take the story of Lulu into a new, fresh level of story-telling, furthermore a deeper philosophy towards the inside mind of Lulu herself. There is no 'black or white', there are only longings and loneliness. 


Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nordlichter 2012 (28.09.2012, Radialsystem)


Initiated and led by Berlin's ow Marcus Hagemann, the festival Nordlichter is a podium for Nordic classical musicians and groups, as wells as composers, to display their works. 
I went there for their opening night and had some fun.

An installation from Timo Kreuser titled SCREAMS stood as the festival opening. It (said to) offers the artistic glanze at birth and death, also a reflection of middle point between 'silence' and 'scream'. For me, it's no music at all. So I won't review things Idon't like or understand even further.

 

THE REAL CONCERT happened afterwards. Olof Boman led the Danish National Vocal Ensemble for a highly philosophical yet musical concert. Moving aroung the theme of heavenly / spiritual peace (Haydn's "Vater vergib ihnen..." and Monteverdi's "Dixit Dominus" from Vesper 1610), the concept of the concert is clashed with such pieces that portray the war call based on religion (Thomas Jennefelt's "Dixit Dominus" based on the Psalm 110 and the speech of Pope Urban II in Clermont calling the men of the land to join the first holy wars). 
The ensemble gave their best performances and the soloists are the only ones you'll need for this.
Wonderful vocal and exactly the right repertoire. Can't ask for more. Well, thank you Mr. Boman.

Sonar Quartett gave an exquisite interlude "Lady Shalott" from Bent Sørensen that really fits the concert.

Rating: 8/10



Cameron Carpenter Orgel Concert (24.09.2012, Philharmonie Berlin)


Karl-Schuke-Organ was played very lively and free that night. Yes, the american organist, Cameron Carpenter is not one of those boring mediocre organ player in the churches that your granny took you to see. Beside his innovative mind, he is also often praised (or critizised by some old boring pigs) for his Lady-Gaga avant-garde fashion and mohawk hairstyle on stage. Gayish? Quite absolutely. Appropriate? Not for some. What I think? Capital F for fantastic. 
Le concert c'est moi. indeed. 
Johann Sebastian Bach: Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1 in G major BWV 1007 (arr. for organ)
Johann Sebastian Bach: Fantasy and Fugue in G minor BWV 542
Johann Sebastian Bach: From the Violin Partita No. 3 in E major (arr. for organ)
Isaac Albéniz: Evocación from Iberia Volume 1
Cameron Carpenter: Science Fiction Scenes (Selection): I. What Worlds Await V. You Were Now X. Apparition of the Organ from Space Première
Richard Wagner: Forest Murmurs from Siegfried (arr. for organ)
Charles Ives: The Alcotts, 3rd Movement from the "Concord" Sonata (arr. for organ)
Franz Liszt: Fantasy and Fugue on »Ad nos, ad salutarem undam«


With his eccentricity, the arranged Bach pieces are very astonishing. Very fresh and grand with such energy displayed on stage. 
Carpenter's own piece, titled "Science Fiction Scenes" are way too interesting to be missed. On the premiered "Apparition" the organ had a dialogue with a harmonium placed way above the hall. A vision of better organ from the future? Who knows?
The Liszt's Fantasy closes the concert with a bang. Energetic, passionate, yet very inspiring.
After a few more encores (as usual when great concerts happen), everyone came home with a new knowledge: Now that's an organist for this century!!!

For those of you, organ music lovers, I truly encourage you to check out his CDs "Revolutionary" and "Cameron Carpenter Live". Both will rock complete your collection.


Yep, not your every (Sun)day organist. 

Rating: 9/10

Andreas Scholl WANDERER-Concert (15.09.2012, Konzerthaus Berlin)


Andreas Scholl is one of the, if no THE, greatest living Countertenor in the world. And he is simply THE BEST in Germany.
To open their "A Night With..." concert series, where singers performed their personal or project songs without previous announcement of the program to the audience, Konzerthaus has picked Scholl. Which is a very good choice actually, because almost at the same time, Scholl will be releasing his new vocal-solo piano  recital album with Tamar Halperin titled WANDERER. The album track list became our program. 

The songs span from Mozart and Haydn to Schubert and Brahms. Almost all the songs are in German.
Wonderful, simply wonderful recital. For those of you, who know this thing called COUNTERTENOR that I'm talking about, then you must realize the heavenly joy and delight to your ears as you hear them. 

I personally think, this kind of repertoire, outside of his usual Barock repertoire or his pop projects, suits Scholl really well. Simplicity and honesty shimmer from his singing. 

A few interesting cuts: Schubert's "Das Tod und das Mädchen". It's just too 'cool' watching Scholl switching voice from the dark tenor "Death" to the light high voice of the "Girl". Another Schubert's piece "Du bist die Ruh" delivers you to heaven. Straight.

The Haydn pieces are also rare pieces and worth hearing by Scholl.


Very great recital. Halperin shines and serves as a very very excellent companion.

Rating: 9/10


Homage to Kurt Sanderling (22.09.2012, Konzerthaus Berlin)


Welcome Iván Fischer!!! Wow so many new people are becoming regulars in Berlin's music scene.
After being elected as the new Head Conductor of Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, the house gave him the green light to opean the season with a homage festival to the house's deceased previous head conductor, Kurt Sanderling. 

The programme for the main concert during this festival is:

Johannes Brahms
Variationen über ein Thema von Joseph Haydn B-Dur op. 56a 
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Es-Dur KV 482 
Richard Strauss
Zweite Walzerfolge aus der Oper "Der Rosenkavalier" op. 59 
Richard Strauss
"Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche" - Sinfonische Dichtung op. 28 
Richard Strauss
"Tanz der sieben Schleier" aus der Oper "Salome" op. 54


The highlight of the evening is the pianist Jonathan Biss. Playing the Mozart's piano concert with full passion and power, the piece sounded very inspiring and free. 

First time seeing Fischer live, I realized how powerful he is as a conductor, especially with the Strauss'. Great job! Let's hope the orchestra under his lead keeps getting better!

Rating: 8/10

The Monteverdi-Trilogy (16.09.2012, Komische Oper Berlin)

WELCOME BARRIE KOSKY!!!!!


This production of three Monteverdi main operas is the first official product of Mr. Barrie Kosky as the Intendant of Komische Oper Berlin.


Festive, forest-alike set on ORPHEUS opens the premiere day. The celebration-theme and huge ensemble of singers and dancers helped creating a very fantastic atmosphere of the opera. 
Our "Orpheus", Dominik Köninger, lost his breath at some points, where he must do some stuff with the choreography. Hope he gets better in his role by the next plays. 


The second opera, ODYSSEUS, is more like an opean field, with chamber orchestra on both sides of the grass-field-alike main stage. 
The chemistry between Odysseus (Günter Papendell) and Penelope (Ezgi Kutlu) is very well built. The production is actually quite a success in presenting an alterante world for the story, even though the set is arguably looked cheap. 

 

The third opera, the politically explosive POPPEA, is quite a prodution. Basically, the stage only has a slide with rocks. Just a ORPHEUS, it used the same water pool on the front left side of the stage. It gives enough room for many scenes with huge ensemble. The atmosphere is empty and dark and again, arguably cheap.
The singers are mediocre, but as we know, the closing duet between Nero & Poppea is one of the most beautiful ever written.  

At some points it's mediocre, but the acting and the presence of "Amour" as a connecting character, played wonderfully by Peter Renz, between these operas made this (these) production(s) a grande big portrait of Monteverdi and signals much more worth-hoping from his intendancy in many years to come.
And he is WAAAAYYYYY better than Andreas Homoki. That one I can guarantee. 


De Ridder tried to be edgy, especially on "Odysseus" where he used a series of African guitar/lute(?)-like instrument to add the tribal/Arabic feel to the orchestration, but somehow didn't succeed. Well, after all he tried. Good luck and be better next time... I hope.

A spectacle and a must if you're a hardcore opera fan. If you're common people checking on this, ORPHEUS is still a must as the most entertaining of all three.

Rating: 7/10



2012/2013 Season Opening: Musikfest Berlin 2012


With this post my reviews for 2012/2013 season shall begin. From 31st of August 'til 18th of September 2012 the classical music institution in Berlin start the new season with a joint-season opening in a form of festival. This year, the Berlin Musikfest program is dedicated to celebrate the works of many modern american composers. From so many concerts during this festival, I only visited two with addition of a konzertant.

So here they are:

1. Schönberg: AARON & MOSES (02.09.2012, Philharmonie)



Seriously, I've never heard of this work before. From all three konzertant of this festival (others are Adams' NIXON IN CHINA and Gershwinn's PORGY & BESS) this konzertant is the least celebrated (by not being sold out) but at the same time it came with this whole programs of movies, art and discussion forum to support the material of this opera
As the title implies, the opera focuses on the conflict between Moses as the 'speaker of the Word of God' and Aaron who is more like the "translator" and the "bridge" who delivers Moses' words to the Israelite
Highlights from the opera itself is the orgy scene of the Isralite while waiting for Moses coming down from the Mount Sinai. The music creates an explicit scene and it's very graphic at the same time, that the music offers a "movie" kinda like point of view of the event, rather than opera's. 
Handling this very difficult work, the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg along with Europachorakademie presents a very grandiose interpretation and execution. Thanks to the powerful vocals of our men of the hour, Franz Grundheber as Moses and Andreas Conrad as Aaron, the hours spent watching this work didn't only turn into a musical magic, but rather gave a raw perspective & great insight to the real event that shaped the Jewish belief and culture, so as Christianity.

Rating: 9/10


2. KONINKLIJK CONCERTGEBOUWORKEST AMSTERDAM (04.09.2012, Philharmonie)
-Dirigent: Mariss Jansons


Drum rolls for "THE BEST ORCHESTRA OF THE WORLD" (-Grammophone)!!!
I'm excited from top to toe for this. Who could be better than Mariss Jansons, the principal conductor himself, to lead this pack of wonderful musicians? The stars align so right. 
The works performed that night are:

Arnold Schönberg:

A Survivor from Warsaw op. 46 für Sprecher, Männerchor und Orchester


Igor Strawinsky:
Symphonie des Psaumes für Chor und Orchester

-With the help of Grammy-winning Rundfukchor Berlin, thr orchester has made quite an interpretation of the work. 

Samuel Barber:
Adagio für Streichorchester
-Simply beautiful. Nuff said.




Edgard Varèse:
Amériques für großes Orchester
-A very interesting choice of work that already got me excited even before hearing. The interpretation of this works sounded very huge and grand, at the same time didn't lose the energy 




Mariss Jansons © Marco Borggreve

Overall, I think it's a very interesting concert. I just don't really feel the musical connection between these pieces. It may distract the concert flow to me personally. At the same time, I'm sure, there are tons of other pieces, that are more suitable to  showcase the genius ability of this magnificent orchestra.

Basically, I spent the night with the right orchestra with quite a wrong repertoire. 

Rating: 7/10

3. Konzerthausorchester Berlin
Isabelle Faust
Emilio Pomarico



No more Feldman please. His "Violin and Orchestra", performed that night, made me dizzy and bored. I really can't find the substance of the piece. I hate the piece. Sorry, new music fans. The blame's on me.

Schubert's Seventh ended up being mediocre. Well, it seems the piece is injected to the repertoire so people would come anyway, even though they don't know who the hell is Feldman.

Quite a shame.

Rating: 5/10

It's not all glitter and gay, but I'm sure looking forward for next year's.