Sunday, January 17, 2016

Advent 2015 & what's in store in 2016!

Five important short reviews of the previous month:

1. Bayerische Staatsoper. Wagner's Götterdämmerung. Kirill Petrenko conducted with high precision on tempo and volume, the orchestra responded very well. Lance Ryan sang a better Siegfried than his previous time in Berlin two and a half years ago. Petra Lang did a convincing Brünnhilde, worthy of Bayreuth stage. Andreas Kriegenburg made an anti-climatic end to his visually interesting hipster-feel Ring by delivering no point of conclusion.

2. Berliner Philharmoniker with Debussys's Pelleas & Mellisande. Christian Gerhaher & Magdalena Kozena protrayed both title roles, supported by a fabolous cast. Peter Sellars direction was quite one dimensional but creative, given a very small space on stage (and inside the whole concert hall) for the singers to act. It's quite a special night in Philharmonie. The orchestra played the score with high clarity and on-point dramatic moments, Rattle has once again produced another success number before his time in Berlin runs out.

3. Verdi's La Traviata new production under Dieter Dorn found its strength in Sonya Yoncheva, who sang the title role Violetta. The production is visually standard, a little pinch of psychological insight and basta. Simone
Piazzolla portrayed a strong & phonstark Giorgio, Saimir Pirgu replaced Abdel Lasri as Alfredo after the premiere and got a better feedback from the audience.
4. Mozart's Don Giovanni in Claus Guth's production for my third time. The production was still as wonderful as before. With Christopher Maltman and Luca Pisaroni, it was a very strong performance indeed. The rest of the cast ranged from splendid to okay.
5. Berliner Philharmoniker's New Year's Eve Concert with Anne-Sophie Mutter was a french night with a personal highlight of mine: Saint-Saëns's Introduction et Rondo capriccioso. Ravel's La Valse built a nice end to the concert and the encore: Brahms' Hungarian Dance. Less festive programs than previous years, but it's okay.

In the second half of this season, a few highlights await us, such as:
1. In Staatsoper Berlin, a few interesting new productions: Glück's Orpheus et Eurydice and Martinů's Juliette. The revival of Parsifal in Festtage will be the very last time Waltraud Meier singing Kundry. Also the revival of Simon Boccanegra with Domingo and Il Trovatore with Netrebko. The next season will much likely be opened with a new Fidelio(!) by Harry Kupfer(!).
2. Deutsche Oper Berlin showed a new production of Salome by Claus Guth, also two concert operas with Edita Gruberova and Joyce DiDonato.
3. Salzburg has Verdi's Otelllo with Christian Thielemann for Easter and also Salzburg Festival in summer with tons of fun!
4. Baden-Baden stages Wagner's Tristan & Isolde for Easter with Berliner Philharmoniker. I would probably go there, perhaps not. However, I've got my ticket for the concert performance in Berlin.
 5. I will definitely visit the Salzburger Festspiele in August, but which programs I'm gonna watch is still a big question I myself can't answer.

May we all live long for all these jewels of music...