Festtage is here again. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the festival offered a new production of Gluck's Orpheo et Eurydice and the revival of last year's Parsifal along with concerts loaded with star soloists. Here are the reviews of the performances I attended:
The Elgar's First Symphony was a great choice for the second part of the concert. It's one of Barenboim regular piece in the repertoire and he didn't bother studying a new piece, so tada! His interpretation was generally great. Right tempo, dramatic highs & lows and always with the right amount of energy. The work itself is actually not complicated, made it easy to be loved by the general audience or those still unfamiliar with most Elgar's works like me.
Elgar's Second Symphony is another regular in Barenboim's repertoire. Having released the piece as recording with Staatskapelle recently, this Festtage occasion is a great way to promote it. It was a fine interpretation overall. Interesting fact: Yo-Yo Ma joined the Staatskapelle to play this piece. Sitting in the last cello row, right in front of the bass, Ma seemed very excited during the whole piece. It's not everyday, that you get a world-class soloist, joining in the orchestra to play the second part of the concert. Where did he get all that energy? I can't wait for his next concert in Berlin.
Were any of YOU reading my blog also present in Berlin for this Festtage???
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Friday, March 25, 2016
Thursday, March 3, 2016
Die Walküre by Willy Decker. Conducted by Christian Thielemann, the singer ensemble for the night was quite flawless. Christopher Ventris & Petra Lang sang Siegmund & Sieglinde, Hunding was Georg Zeppenfeld. Markus Marquardt, a frequent Wotans in Leipzig and Saxon region, reprised the role alongside Nina Stemme as Brünnhilde, Christa Mayer sang Fricka and a few Valkyries have also sung their roles in Bayreuth. At the end of the day, with a rather short time of rehearsal, there wasn't much room for improvement for these singers. The biggest critic was perhaps the orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden who failed at some points to play synchronically as a big group, as well in responding to the singers (Thielemann to blame?). The Willy Decker's production was rather not innovative and didn't bring anything new to the table. I just came for the singers and got what I want. Still a glorious night to remember.
2. Just yesterday Semperoper announced the programm for the next season of 2016/2017. My three personal highlights are the revival of Rheingold and Siegfried, as well as the Dresden premiere of this year's Salzburg Easter Festival opera Verdi's Otello. Great cast for all three productions, Otello even has the original cast planned for this Easter, let's just hope Johan Botha and Dmitri Hvorotovsky recover soon. They're all conducted by Christian Thielemann. The Ring operas are directed by Willy Decker, continuing the Walküre performances last week and Otello by Vincent Bousard.