Sunday, June 5, 2016
Barenboim conducts all the performances in this premiere series. I think he was able to express the many colors and sounds of the piece, although many interesting parts just went somehow too fast.
Claus Guth's production for this opera is quite a highlight, setting the story inside a white box full of drawers , symbolizing a big cupboard where Michel hides his fears and dreams inside his mind. The third act, channeling surrealism, was then set in an empty space with smokes and people walking back and forth, representing the dream bureau.
Magdalena Kožená as Juliette came back to to a role that she once sang, even made a recording with. Her mezzo voice was very charismatic and captivating. The high dramatic parts sounded very much like an echo, but still sharp and clear. Sadly, the title role is rather a minor (compared to Michel, the actual protagonist).
In the end, it was an adventurous night for me, who haven't seen or heard this opera before. Please don't come if you are not a "new music" lover. A bit avant-garde music won't hurt you if you're willing to listen and expect an entertaining but not perfectly well sung performance from Villazón.
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Christine Mielitz's old production from '83 was revived and thanks to the stage team and costume department, everything still looked new and was able to deliver a great visual for a classic non-Eurotrash production.
Christian Thielemann poured out a balanced mix between his guts and mind (unlike his Tristan last summer, which was more on the 'brain' side), boosting the volume to the top during the piece's grandest moments. It's a standard interpretation, where he provided a safer playground for the two debutantes.
Beczała also made a good Lohengrin. Two fatal mistakes though. "In fernem Land..." started way too fast, I also blamed Thielemann for this. "Mein lieber Schwan" was then followed by three-line-long mumbling of non-sense. Got carried away by the music, perhaps? As for his voice, I think it suits the role perfectly. People may prefer the more light, bright Lohengrin by Klaus Florian Vogt or dark robust one from Jonas Kaufmann. Beczała is definitely in the middle. A great job... for a debut; which means improvements are needed.
Tomasz Konieczny also delivered a convincing Telramund; the role itself is sadly not that interesting in my opinion, so I won't say much here.
Georg Zeppenfeld delivered a solid Heinrich. Nuff said... he is coming to be an absolute Wagner bass par-excellence. Wotan soon?
This a great Wagner performance: this combination of die-hard Wagnerian and popular opera/ Netrebko fans... you won't get this everyday. Even every decade. Netrebko and Beczała made a great debut & this performance is definitely a big rehearsal for the real show in 2018: Netrebko in Bayreuth. If you couldn't see this live, make sure you get the DVD (if they intend to release it at all). Or grab your ticket for Bayreuth. 2018. I will.