domingo, 18 de septiembre de 2016

Strauss’s Golden Rain in Salzburg “Die Liebe der Danae” at Salzburg Festival

Photo: SF Monika Forster

Oxana Arkaeva

In 1944, after the general rehearsal, Richard Strauss addressed the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra by saying “Gentlemen, I hope, we will see each other in the better world!”. Full of resignation and Escapism, this great composer would never get a chance to see his opera on stage: on July 29, 1944, after the unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Hitler, RM. Dr. Goebbels announced the total warfare and complete ban on public life. Only in 1954 did “Danae” finally receive its world premiere in Salzburg, followed by the second festival´s production in 2002.

This final oeuvre by Strauss presents an attempt of the aging composer to escape the reality into the world of Mystics by basing his new opera on two ancient myths: Jupiter’s golden rain seduction of Danae and the story of King Midas with his magic golden touch. Pursuing composer’s intention to write a joyful, Milesian tale style opera, the stage director, and designer, Alvis Hermanis, refused to “abuse the piece as a political message” and concentrated his attention on the antique love triangle between Danae, Jupiter, and Midas.

Purely visualizing the music, he created a broad, uniform stage with a big staircase in the middle, a frame-like opening in the wall on the back and furnished it with lots of gold and red colors. Oriental rugs, a mixture of Jugend Still and eastern influenced ornamented video projections (Ineta Sipunova), colorful, opulent costumes (Juozas Statkevičius) and joyful Bollywood like action seemed to underline composer´s initial intentions.

Herman's musical partner on that evening was the State Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Franz Welser-Möst. Somehow appearing to be distant from what was happening on the stage, especially evident before the break, he pulled out an opulent, dynamically cumbersome and dominant, symphonic sound. This might have been to some extent suitable for Strauss’s music, but often proved to be unjust towards singers since they were often covered by the orchestra. The situation has improved dramatically after the break and we experienced almost impressionistic, thoughtful sound, reminiscing Strauss’s early compositions and Wagner’s Leitmotivs.

The singers’ ensemble, built together out of young but internationally well-established musicians, deserves praise for making this complicated score sound light and easy.

Krassimira Stoyanova as Danae dominated the stage physically and vocally from beginning on. We experience an elegant, sensual woman with dance-like movements, full, elegiac and beautiful sound topped by mesmerizing Pianis. At the beginning she sacrificed her German diction for the sound and only after the break, and particularly in the final scene, achieved better text understanding, thus enhancing this ideal performance.

In the role of Jupiter Tomasz Konieczny gave a memorable performance by presenting a powerful bass-baritone and perfect diction. Entering the stage on a giant, papier-mâché white Elephant he gave a convincing portrayal of an aging Macho-God and mastered this extremely high part with easiness and flexibility. His final solo scene marked a musical culmination of the evening, both by the singer and the orchestra.

The third member of love triangle King Midas was sung by Gerhard Siegel. His firm, Helden Tenor, possessed a warm middle voice and strained high notes. At some rare moment, when he achieved to open up, we experienced incredibly beautiful timbre and big, easy sound.

The four Kings sung by Pavel Kolgatin, Andi Früh, Ryan Speedo Green, Jongmin Park as well as four goddesses of Maria Celeng, Olga Besmertna, Michel Selinger and Jenifer Johnston, as well as Norbert Ernst´s Mercury and Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke´s Pollux, gave a joyful crowd of good singing and acting characters. Regine Hangler as Xanthe sung with edgy soprano and excellent diction. Thirteen female dancers served as mute moving antic Choir of the Greek tragedy by slipping into different roles and costumes hence commenting the story. The smart looking, white donkey Erna shortly stole the show and, suddenly, reminded us of an actual story of Midas as the poor Syrian donkey-driver.

Written during the darkest years of the European history, this opera presents the musical and ideological testimony of Strauss. His wish for the best world has come true, and we can only hope that no other new theater creation ever should experience being isolated or forbidden for political or any other reasons.

Welcome to Mozart´s Big Brother House „Le Nozze di Figaro“ at Salzburg Festival

Photos Walz

Oxana Arkaeva

August 8th, 2016. Completing his two years as Festivals Interim Intendant, stage director Sven-Erich Bechtolf brought out a package of the three most famous operas by Mozart: “Don Giovanni”, “Cosi fan’ tutte” and “Le Nozze di Figaro”. Attended performance on August 16th presented the first of the six shows of last year´s production´s revival.

Moved from Sevilla to England and set in Downton Abbey Sitcom stage design (Alex Eales), this “Figaro” is more of traditional than of innovative style. Presented with a longitudinal section of the house, the audience finds itself looking inside of the Mozart´s Big Brother House. As if peeping through keyholes, we involuntary became Voyeurs of door – to – door, fast – paced, full of confusion and easy – wit stage happenings.

Musically the evening was framed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the button of
Dan Ettinger. At the beginning acting more in the background and playing with soft sound, the orchestra musically took the lead only at the final scene of the second act. Ettinger’s uneven conducting created coordination difficulties between stage and orchestra and dynamically remained more indifferent than engaging.

The singer's ensemble, dressed in lovely costumes of post – Edwardian style (Mark Bouman) were more of a type cast, acted well and seemed to enjoy the show. The singing, however, was kept on rather a small voice level, thus not allowing a big dynamic range and missing the sensuality of Mozart’s music.

Luca Pisaroni as Count Almaviva was the acting star of the evening. He is convincing as permanently stumbling from one painful situation into the other, spoiled English Dundee, for whom to betray his wife and then ask for forgiveness is business as usual. His agreeable bass – baritone is equally present throughout the performance and in his famous aria in the third act, he achieved his personal musical highlight.

His stage wife, an unfortunate Countess Almaviva has her first mute stage appearance as still young, beautiful woman who, nevertheless, already needs reading glasses. Soprano Anett Fritsch sings with warm, light sound, with a tremolo and sometimes uneasy high notes. Her acting is soft and gracious, symbolizing the forgiving, loving, ideal type of faithful spouse.

Adam Plachetka’s imposing appearance, unfortunately, didn’t match his singing volumes. He seemed to pull back his voice, making it sound smaller, opening up only in his fourth act aria. His acting nevertheless was charming and especially in the finale, he gave a lovely and teddybear-like, admirable Figaro.

Anna Prohaska´s Susanna remained bleak scenically and vocally throughout the evening. She seemed to be overloaded by the whole action, and her small voice often had difficulties getting over the orchestra. Fortunately, in the famous “Rose” aria in the fourth act she, finally, got a chance to calm down, giving us a treat of the lovely timbre and delicate singing.

Margarita Griskova as Cherubino sings with warm mezzo-soprano and is absolutely lovable in his continuous seducing attempts. Her acting is often too feminine thus, maybe, explaining, why amorous Basilio so persistently pursues Cherubino. It is remarkable how Paul Schweinester manages to combine never-ceasing action with admirable singing. His Basilio as an omniscient, everywhere present chief spy, is the most well-shaped character in this production.

The Buffo couple of Marcellina and Dr. Bartolo were sung by Ann Murray and Carlos Chausson. Both singing and acting noteworthy, Ann Murray stole the show by giving in the fourth act an absolutely hilarious and incredibly funny performance of a drunk, hiccupping old Lady.

Franz Super as Don Curzio and Erik Anstine as Gardener Antonio both displayed good voices: Super giving a refreshing, not stuttering lawyer and Astine of a comical, steadily drunk man. Christina Gansch in the tiny role of Barbarina managed to make an impression both with her lovely soprano and boyish like, admirable play.

Greatly appreciated by the audience this production builds up, together with the two mentioned above, the Festivals´ Da Ponte Trilogy. Recently released on DVD and Blue-Ray under Unitel Classics it features up to 4K Ultra HD definition picture quality, additional backstage footage, a digital opera guide and gives a welcome opportunity to experience up-close and to enjoy the spirit and the high quality of this great venue.

martes, 6 de septiembre de 2016

Nobody is asleep in Bregenz - Turandot “at the Bregenz Open Air Summer Festival

Photos: © Bregenzer Festspiele/Karl Forster

Oxana Arkaeva

Nobody is asleep in Bregenz
„Turandot “at the Bregenz Open Air Summer Festival August 9th, 2016

This year’s Summer Opera Festival in Austrian town Bregenz presented a varied and hugely attended anniversary season. Located at the picturesque site of the Constance Lake, the festival acts as a junction point for the opera lovers from neighboring countries and vast national and international audience. Highlighting G. Puccini's´ last opera “Turandot” in its renewal of the 2014/2015 seasons‘ production, organizers of the festival presented an opulent, lavishly lightened show, with impressive video projections and the one, that perfectly blends into the surrounding landscape.

Each night, about 7000 listeners, equipped with blankets and rain ponchos were carried away by beautiful scenery, great music, and imposing stage settings. Remaining seated even during a small rain, something that also happened on this evening, they enjoyed a majestic show with acrobats, fire artists, a vast number of extras involved in martial fighters´ scenes and great singing.


Set directly in the lake and supported by 200 terracotta warrior figures, the stage is divided into three sections.Chinese Great Wall at the back with two massive towers at the both sides; Big, round, revolving stage with a large disk in the middle; And small, private room at the front. The big stage is used as a revolutionary as well as festivity square and as a macabre underground library, where Ping, Pang, and Pong preserve the chopped heads in the glass jars. The massive disc is lifted up, effectively servíng as a surface for impressive video and light projections (Aron Kitzig and David Cunnigham).

Marco Arturo Morelli, the stage director, and designer confronts us with two entirely different, but nevertheless, similar worlds: One of a lonely, sick, dying men and the other of a sick society full of lonely, soul-dead humans. This lonely man is Puccini itself. Restless and sleepless he feverishly trying to compose. With no inspiration left, he interferes with the story, becoming the unknown Prince Calaf. Morellis´ idea of the double Puccini-Calaf figure is a great achievement of this production and casts a deep philosophical and symbolic light at Puccini's´ personal life and work.

Story and Singers

To ensure the continuation of the dynasty, the beautiful Princess Turandot must marry. Not inclining to do so, she refers to the tragic story of Princess Lo-uling, who was abducted, brutally abused and killed by a man. To escape Lo-uling´s fate, she requires all potential marriage candidates to solve three riddles. An unfortunate loser is then executed, and their headless body is thrown into the water from one of the towers.

Confronted and frenetically celebrated by the grim, masked crowd of walking dead creatures, (choreography Arthur Braun) the old Emperor Altoum who is in a wheelchair (convincing is his portrayal by Manuel von Senden) has enough of his daughters´ cruelty. To end the streams of blood in his palace he forces her to stop the murderous quest. Hence he is not enthusiastic about some unknown young men, who willingly declares to enter the brutal competition.

Prince Calaf, reunited with his lost father, King Timur (Gianluca Buratto with warm sounding bass) who is accompanied by the slave girl Liù, is distracted by the appearance of mysterious Princess Turandot in the floating by vessel. Charmed by her sent, Calaf falls in love with her and seals his destiny by deciding to enter the dangerous marriage contest, which he as the only one wins.

Riccardo Massi as Prince Calaf gives an impressive performance musically. A tall man, with commanding appearance and beautiful voice, the tenor possesses italianita in the sound, solid high notes, beautiful Legati and great Puccini lines. His “Nessun Dorma”, calm in tempo, thoughtful in the mood and with bombastic last "Vincero" marks a musical highlight of this evening. However, as the double Puccini-Calaf figure, he often remained static, which proves to be a disadvantage against his vocal performance. Morellis´ idea to draw parallels between the characters of Calaf and Puccini could have characteristically and from the acting endured more contour.

Associated with melancholic, full of passion melodies that, once heard, will never be forgotten, Puccini created the whole series of loveable, strong heroines, who’s stories never leave one unmoved. In “Turandot” we are presented with not one, but with two female characters, who couldn´t differ more: The Princess Turandot and the slave Liù.

The interpretation of the role of Turandot in this production raises uncertainty. We do not exactly know whether we should feel compassion for or despise her. The Turandot by soprano Erika Sunnegårdh is not a static opera diva, but a lonely, nervous, restless, fragile and sad woman, who has a great fear of love. Thus the soprano gives a corresponding vocal portrayal of this unfortunate Princess. Nervous, restless in movements, she sings with edgy high notes and leaves us with the wish for more legato and great Puccini lines. An excellent actress, she considerably increases her vocal powers and gives a convincing performance in the final scene.

Her female counterpart, the slave Liù was the best-portrayed character. Marjukka Tepponen presents the round, well-balanced, full-bodied soprano. Initially equipped with the slight vibrato, she convinced through her clear acting and expressive singing. Besides “Nessun Dorma", her last two arias build another musical highlight of the evening.

The remaining three buffo characters, Ping, Pang, and Pong sang by tenors Matija Meié, Taylan Reinhard, and bass Grigory Shkarupa (also in the role of the Mandarin) provided a lively, sometimes satirical, philosophical acting, supported by pleasant voices and captivating acting.


To judge the vocal performance under the circumstances of an open air production can be difficult and should be done with caution, since singers´ voices have to pass through the acoustic filters, thus dealing with possible timbre and vocal endurance challenges. Maestro Giuseppe Finzi however, achieved a significant impact musically. Hidden from the audience, only perceived through large screens and speaker boxes, the Vienna Sinfonie Orchestra and the choirs of Prague Philharmonic and Bregenz festival choir (Luka´s Vasilek, Benjamin Lack) gave a memorable performance of the well balanced, excellent sound and technical coordination (Gernot Gögele and Alwin Bösch). Especially in both “Riddle” and “Love” duets Finzi underlined Puccini's´ gift as a brilliant singer-composer by supporting both principal singers and by giving them an opportunity to demonstrate their vocal abilities, their technical skills, and endurance.


At the end of the opera, we witness a transformation of Turandot from cold-blooded Princess to an upright loving woman. Accepting her defeat, she and Calaf, step out of this tragic story as the only winners. On the front stage, we see Puccini-Calaf who, sitting in his barren room with his hands tied. Powerless, he glances over at the lying on the bed, to see a dead Liù who just sacrificed herself for Calaf. Facing death and watching the bombastic fireworks and celebration show taking place behind him, this powerful image symbolizes the transience of our life and of the impact of the great artist and his art that will survive its creator for all times. Thus we are dismissed with the feeling of gratitude towards this great composer, who, for all times, bestowed us with this fantastic music.

Highlighting G. Bizet´s most famous opera “Carmen” with the premiere taking place on July 19 th. 2017, the next Bregenz Festival will be held from July 19th through August 20th. 2017 and surely already now can be enthusiastically looked for.

Cast, August 9th, 2016:                      

Conductor: Giuseppe Finzi
Staging and design: Marco Arturo Morelli                        
Costumes: Constance Hoffmann                        
Video: Aron Kitzing                                                              
Light: David Cunnigham
Choir: Lukaš Vasilek and Benjamin Lack
Sound: Gernot Gögele, Alwin Bösch
Fight- and choir choreograph: Arthur Braun    
Dramaturgy. Olaf A. Schmitt
Altoum: Manuel von Senden                               
Timur: Gianluca Buratto                       
Calaf: Riccardo Massi                          
Turandot: Erika Sunnegårdh              
Liù: Majukka Tepponen                       
Ping: Matija Melé                                  
Pang: Taylan Reinhard                       
Pong: Cosmin Ifrim
Vienna Sinfonie Orchestra  
Prague Philharmonic choir and Bregenz festival choir

lunes, 5 de septiembre de 2016

Tosca en el Teatro Colon de Buenos Aires: última función

Prensa Teatro Colón /Arnaldo Colombaroli o Máximo Parpagnoli

Gustavo Gabriel Otero
Twitter: @GazetaLyrica

Buenos Aires, 31/08/2016. Teatro Colón. Giacomo Puccini: Tosca. Opera en tres actos, libreto de Luigi Illica y Giuseppe Giacosa, inspirado en el drama homónimo de Victorien Sardou. Roberto Oswald, concepción escénica, escenografía e iluminación. Aníbal Lápiz, dirección escénica y vestuario. Christian Prego, escenógrafo asociado. Rubén Conde, repositor de la iluminación. Eva-María Westbroek (Floria Tosca), Marcelo Álvarez (Mario Cavaradossi), Fabián Veloz (Barón Scarpia), Mario De Salvo (Angelotti), Luis Gaeta (Sacristán), Sergio Spina (Spoletta), Fernando Grassi (Sciarrone), Carlos Esquivel (Carcelero), Julieta Unrein (Voz del Pastor). Orquesta y Coro Estables del Teatro Colón. Coro de Niños del Teatro Colón. Director del Coro Estable: Miguel Martínez. Director del Coro de Niños: César Bustamante. Dirección Musical: Carlos Vieu.

Es verdad sabida que no hay dos funciones iguales en el mundo de la ópera y que la última representación tiene una magia especial. En el caso que reseñamos se trató de la última de una serie de funciones dónde el acento estuvo puesto en el reencuentro con el público de Buenos Aires del tenor argentino Marcelo Álvarez y en la reposición de la puesta escénica de Tosca firmada originalmente en 1992 por Roberto Oswald (1933-2013). Esa noche la representación se difundía al mundo por la web, supuestamente en directo, y tenía como modificación en el elenco el cambio de barítono y la recuperación de la salud de la soprano. La función en vivo no defraudó, aunque por la web se difundió la representación del domingo anterior con otro elenco. La conocida escenografía imaginada por Roberto Oswald se destaca por su realismo con magníficos detalles barrocos tanto en la Iglesia del primer acto como en la sala palacio del segundo, los elementos corpóreos acompañan la concepción escenográfica. Todo luce monumental y bello. En el tercer acto nos encontramos con un gigantesco ángel en la terraza del Castel Sant’ Angelo al fondo y dos planos de la misma terraza. Tosca no se arroja al vacío en el fondo del escenario -como es casi habitual- sino por delante. De fidelidad temporal y excelente diseño el vestuario de Aníbal Lápiz
Bien repuesta la iluminación original de Oswald por parte de Rubén Conde y razonable los movimientos escénicos que se deben a la concepción de Oswald pero fueron realizados como director escénico por su habitual colaborador Aníbal Lápiz. Carlos Vieu condujo con su habitual pericia y vuelo a la Orquesta Estable logrando un buen balance entre el foso y la escena, una verdadera noche de triunfo para el consagrado maestro que por diversas e inexplicables razones era la primera vez que dirigía como titular todas las funciones de una ópera en el Colón. Eva-Maria Westbroek cantó las dos primeras funciones enferma, canceló la tercera y planamente recuperada fue una gran Tosca en esta representación. Tiene gran caudal vocal y algo de vibrato; gradúa de manera inteligente la entrega al personaje y es siempre certera y profesional. Marcelo Álvarez fue un Mario Cavaradossi para recordar por la belleza de su voz y su timbre homogéneo y meridional. La emisión se mantiene fresca, dúctil, franca. No hay atisbo de cansancio y la línea de canto es tan perfecta al inicio de la representación como en su última frase, se nota a un cantante de gran experiencia y verdadera carrera internacional. Muy aplaudido en el inicio, fue ovacionado luego de la gran aria del tercer acto y, lamentablemente, los insistentes pedidos de repetir ‘E lucevan le stelle...’ no fueron atendidos. El barítono malagueño Carlos Álvarez debió cancelar dos de las cuatro funciones programadas como Scarpia. 
Fue reemplazado por Fabián Veloz que cumplió su cometido con excelencia. Es un barítono con presencia, volumen más que adecuado para el rol, excelente línea de canto, expresividad sin mácula y emisión cuidada. No sólo no defraudó, como siempre que se lo ve en escena, sino que además cantó cuatro funciones de Scarpia en seis días y las últimas dos en días sucesivos. Sin dudas es uno de los más importantes barítonos de la escena local y lo volvió a demostrar. El elenco de comprimarios lució sin fisuras. Desde la veteranía de Luis Gaeta como el sacristán a la juventud del pastor de Julieta Unrein. Mario de Salvo fue en recio Angelotti y Segio Spina un intrigante Spoletta, mientras que Fernando Grassi (Sciarrone) y Carlos Esquivel (Carcelero) cumplieron con creces su cometido. Muy buenos tanto el Coro de Niños como el Coro Estable del Teatro.

Stresa Festival -Christian Zacharias

Photo: Marc Vanappelghem

Renzo Bellardone

ZACHARIAS -  30 agosto 2016
FRYDERYK CHOPIN, Scherzo n. 1 si min. op. 20; Mazurka do diesis min. op. 41 n. 1; Mazurka la min. op. 17 n. 4; Mazurka la min. op. post. (KK2b n. 4); Mazurka in do diesis min. op. 30 n. 4; Scherzo n. 2 in si bem. min. op. 31

“Buonasera, vorrei toccare l’Opus 111, perché la prevista ‘Kreisleriana’ è troppo lunga per la prima parte del concerto. Opus 111 è in tre stücke….”.  Più o meno con queste parole l’elegante  Christian Zacharias si è presentato al pubblico del Salone degli Arazzi all’Isola Bella di Stresa. Immediatamente si percepisce il tocco elegante e raffinato frutto di indole personale e laboriosa dedizione. Zacharias tocca la tastiera con  sconvolgente naturalezza, la quale è da sempre indice di conoscenza e bravura; dal pianoforte sa trarre un suono pieno di corpo e vitalità donando alla  prestigiosa interpretazione brillante sicurezza che trasuda emozione. Nella seconda parte affronta Chopin e fin dallo Scherzo n.1 si resa impressionati per l’agilità e dolce leggerezza che rimanda veramente ‘sussurri e grida’.

Stresa Festival - Hartelius, Quartetto Gringolts

Renzo Bellardone

Malin Hartelius, soprano
Quartetto Gringolts
Ilya Gringolts e Anahit Kurtikyan, violini
Silvia Simionescu, viola 
Claudius Herrmann, violoncello

FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN, Quartetto op. 50 n. 6
OTTORINO RESPIGHI, Il tramonto, per soprano e quartetto
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN, Quartetto n. 10 op. 74 “Le arpe”
ROBERT SCHUMANN, 6 Gesänge op. 107, nella versione di Aribert Reimann per soprano e quartetto d’archi

L’eleganza musicale è sicuramente  l’elemento distintivo di questa edizione festivaliera ed  anche in questa occasione l’eleganza e la raffinatezza uniti a virtuosismo eclettico hanno contribuito alla riuscita di un concerto di livello. Gli interpreti son risultati molto affiatati riuscendo egregiamente negli attacchi e nei  dialoghi tra strumenti. Il programma ha previsto Haydn ed in particolare si è evidenziato il minuetto che in allegretto ha condotto al finale ricco di gioia. I pizzicati beethoviani nel concerto ‘Delle Arpe’ hanno vivacizzato ancor più  la già allegra atmosfera. Malin Hartelius (e di nuovo si deve parlare di raffinatezza e brillantezza elegante), con voce suadente e colori armoniosi, insieme ai cromatismi dagli archi ha creato un delizioso cammeo dalle tinte gentili, interpretando ‘Il tramonto’ di Respighi. 
Nelle 6 Gesänge di Shumann ha  sapientemente usato la voce con sfumature   e timbrica tale da svelare appassionatamente  le sofferenze d’amore. Forse per restare sul tema della malinconia o forse per lasciare un dolce ricordo del concerto, il bis è stato lo struggente ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’ di Haendel. Per compiutezza di informazione si segnala quanto riportato (pag. 70) dal programma di sala: Ilya Gringolts suona uno Stradivari del 1718; Anhait Kurtikyan un Camillo Camilli del 1733; Silvia Simionescu una viola di Jacobus Januarius del 1660 e Claudius Hermann uno straordinario violoncello Maggini del 1600, appartenuto al Principe Galitsin, intimo amico di Beethoven, che per primo eseguì gli ultimi quartetti del grande compositore tedesco su questo strumento. La Musica vince sempre.

jueves, 1 de septiembre de 2016

Ópera Payasos en México D.F.

Sabado 03 Septiembre 2016, 19hrs
Concierto Gratuito
Macro Plaza Delegación Iztapalapa
Barrio San Lucas Colonia Delegación Política Iztapalapa, Código postal 09009, Delegación Iztapalapa, Ciudad de México

Con el objetivo de promover la cultura de la Ópera en México, por medio de del montaje y producción de una ópera itinerante, surge el proyecto Ópera para Todos, por quinta ocasión presentamos exitosamente la Ópera Payasos, en coproducción con la Secretaría de Cultura de la Ciudad de México. Ópera para Todos, involucra a figuras consagradas de la Ópera como Fernando de la Mora, Paola Antonucci, Genaro Sulvarán, Carlos Sánchez y Evanivaldo Correa. El director de escena es el prestigiado maestro José Medina. El maestro Rodrigo Macías dirige la Orquesta Sinfónica Mexicana y el maestro Manuel Flores Palacios dirige el Coro Sinfónico Mexicano.

Stresa Festival 2016- Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

Foto:Hans van der Woerd

Renzo Bellardone

STRESA FESTIVAL 2016 – ROTTERDAM PHILARMONIC Palazzo Congressi – 31 agosto Renaud Capuçon, violino Gautier Capuçon, violoncello Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra Yannick Nézet-Séguin, direttore FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN, Overture da L’isola disabitata, Hob 28/9 JOHANNES BRAHMS, Doppio concerto in la minore per violino, violoncello e orchestra op. 102 JEAN SIBELIUS, Sinfonia n. 2 in re maggiore op. 43

Fin dalle prime note imponenti si apprezza il gesto chiaro e preciso che entusiasticamente trasmette una partitura entusiasta: il direttore è il giovane Yannick Nézet-Séguin, titolare della prestigiosa Roterdam Philarmonic e la scrittura è quella di F.J.Haydn, sontuosamente interpretata.  Sorridente e coinvolgente  Nézet-Séguin colora con sfumature e toni  pastello, ma ben definiti, ll delizioso minuetto. Scenograficamente in giacca bianca fanno poi il loro ingresso i fratelli  Capuçon: Renaud con il  Guarneri del Gesù “Panette 1737” e Gautier con il ‘Matteo Goffriller 1701, entrambi di ritorno sul Lago Maggiore, dopo la loro prima esibizione allo Stresa Festival del 2004. Superflue risultano le presentazioni dei due solisti affermati ed acclamati in tutto il mondo, ma vale la pena sottolineare quante voci sappiano trarre con apparente semplicità dai loro storici strumenti. Le alternanze dinamiche vengono offerte con fermezza stilistica ed ampia interpretazione. La seconda parte è decisamente più ariosa con la ampie descrizioni musicali di Sibelius, dove si apprezza la ricerca del suono esaltata dai violini prima ed a seguire dai violoncelli che descrivono minuziosamente paesaggi e sensazioni; particolarmente interessanti i pizzicati degli stessi violoncelli e dei tre contrabbassi. Generale apprezzamento dell’intera serata e della direzione che ha suscitato interesse ed è riuscita a ben collocare un programma già egregiamente presentato sul libro di sala da Federico Scoponi. La Musica vince sempre.

miércoles, 31 de agosto de 2016

West side story à la Wagner with happy end - Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg at the National Theatre in Munich State Opera Festival

Photos:Wilfried Hösl

Oxana Arkaeva**

West side story à la Wagner with happy end “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg” at the National Theatre in Munich State Opera Festival July 31st, 2016

The visit to the Bavarian State Opera is always a remarkable experience. The landmark of the Capital of the Bavarian State hosts its annual summer festival in the building of the National Theatre at the representative Max-Josep-Square. Running from the end of June until the end of July, the Munich Opera Festival precedes the next two prestigious European summer festivals in Bayreuth and Salzburg and concludes the Opera Houses main season. Attended performance on the July 31st presented the dernière of series of seven shows and marked the twelfth of the Opera in Munich productions of this great opera. Taking place on a warm evening this show had a touch of the premiere night with all the glamor of an international audience coming in limousines and taxis. Surrounded by the beautiful architectural ambiance and attended by friendly, attentive personal the visitors enjoyed Champagne and tasteful snacks looking forward to the beginning of the show.


To listen to and to watch the “Meistersinger” performance is always a task, bearing in mind an extreme length of the performance of more than five hours and its complex ideological and philosophical context. Thus, one was pleasantly surprised to experience a highly entertaining show that came out to be musically, as well as artistically, of an extraordinary level. After the fiasco of his “Tannhäuser” at the Paris Opera and contrary to his own, not very flattering opinion about traditional opera, Wagner decided in 1861 about to write a comic opera. Distancing himself from his idea of musical drama Wagner composed an opera that does not deal with some divine power and Gods and tells story of real historical figures. The score features aria-like solo scenes, polyphony in composition, German church chorales, and folk songs. The last one effectively misused by Nazi propaganda of Third Reich, which made Wagner a banned composer in some countries.


This centuries-old story, reinforced by the sober stage settings of construction scaffolds and gray apartment buildings with chipped plaster (Patrik Bannwart) and well-shaped characters, appears quite up-to-date. Witnessing the everyday life of the community of hard working people we experience an atmosphere of helplessness (there is a lot of beer drinking going on) with St. Johann Fest and the Meistersinger singing contest offering some rare cultural and social highlights. Taking place in sort of boxing ring, with pouring down confetti and accompanied by Hollywood-like video projections (Falko Herold) as well action supporting stage lighting (Michel Bauer) we become the spectators of some kind “The Voice” show with a glamorous atmosphere of covered-up poverty and despair. Keeping up with the practice of the tragic-comedy genre, stage director David Bösch tells the story that is comprehensible to everyone. Placed in the fifties (flattering costumes by Meentje Nielsen), one cannot let go an impression of suddenly being put into a kind of Wagner's "West Side Story". Moving cars and delivery vans, girls in petticoats and groups of young men in shorts, acting either as dutiful citizens or as Hitler Jugend aggressive gang, the bourgeois society is confronted by the gum chewing rebel, a young, strong woman and innovation seeking city shoemaker.


Right at the beginning, we meet Wolfgang von Stolzing, a young knight, who left his parents castle to come to Nurnberg. Dressed in the leather jacket, with huge earphones and strumming on his guitar ( a delightfully amusing scene with the bust of Wagner) his figure reminds that of Bernsteins´ Tony. Unconscious about his talent, he acts, thinks and lives only for the moment. Despite the ardent address from his mentor, Hans Sachs, von Stolzing easily rejects the Meistersinger title putting his personal happiness in the first place. Jonas Kaufmann gives in this production his Stolzing Debüt and can be considered a public darling. He acts and sings naturally, thus remaining authentic and approachable. Sadly, his impressive stage presence often overwhelms his presence as a singer. Musically he struggles with hight notes and from time to time has difficulties to overcome the orchestra. Nevertheless, his final song “At the bright morning”, was sung with exquisite musicality and touching Piani thus considered one of the musical highlights of this evening.

At Stolzings´side, we experience his elderly protector: The city shoemaker and widely recognized Mastersinger Hans Sachs. A good-natured man, widower, maverick and philosopher, he is the only one who recognized Stollings´ talent and who is ready to sacrifice his personal luck for the sake of the young couple happiness. Wolfgang Koch presented well-balanced baritone voice, which in the monologs in the second and third acts found to its best form. His famous “Despise me, not the Master title” scene presents another musical highlight and achieves an enormous impact with the silence in the audience being almost physically perceptive.

Artistically and from a singing point of view, the strongest performance on this evening was given by tenor Martin Ganter in the role of Sixtus Beckmesser. A City Clerk and Meistersinger Guild Marker. His rules possessed, caught in the old times, pedantic, elderly men, deeply in love with Eva and completely lacking any talent and creativity, Beckmesser is genuinely convinced to be able to win the singing contest, by just stealing and memorizing Stolzing´s Song. Leading the life of a continuous challenge and failure and unceasingly making a fool of himself (absolutely hilarious serenade scene with a ukulele in the second act and ridiculous glittery outfit in the third act), singer´s authentic portrayal of this unfortunate character deserves our entire sympathy and compassion. Musically Ganter convinced with his singing, presenting young sounding, clear voice, with easy top, well balanced middle voice and excellent diction.

Stolzing, Sachs, and Beckmesser build a love triangle around Eva, the young daughter of wealthy city goldsmith. Christof Fischesser in the role of Veit Pogner offers a bright, pleasant baritone sound, good articulation and gives the figure of dutiful, but somehow a distant father, who promises his daughter Eva as a trophy prize for the winner of the upcoming singing contest. Soprano Sara Jakubiak sings and performs a courageous, independent young woman who wants to break free. Resembling the character of Maria from "West Side Story" and deceptive in her elf-like appearance, she manipulates and acts to achieve this goal. Vocally, soprano presented a resolute but sweet, lyrical sounding soprano which, if necessary, can develop an impressive power and expression.

Tenor Benjamin Bruns in the role of Sachs´s apprentice David and Okka von der Damerau, mezzo-soprano, in the role of Eva´s companion Magdalene, give an admirable buffo couple. David, who seems to be a younger version of Beckmesser, tries to follow the rules accurately and to do everything properly. Thus he occasionally accepts his master´s violent treatment to become a companion. Bruns enjoys a lovely sounding tenor voice that sure has enough power and expression for the role of Stolzing in the future. Okka von der Damerau as Magdalene is pleasant to look at and to listen to. A pretty singer with a beautiful, female appearance and supple voice, she gave a convincing performance of a worldly-wise and gracious young woman. The rest of the cast is perfectly fitted together and include singers with throughout good voices for all Meistersingers and City keeper (Tareq Nazmi with warm bass sound). Together with the excellently prepared Choir (Sören Eckhoff), we are invited to dive into an atmosphere of the beautiful midsummer night and hearty laugh at the hilarious male cheerleaders at the beginning of the third act.


The real star of this evening though is the Bavarian State Orchestra and its leader, Kirill Petrenko. Completing his third season as a general music director, Petrenko advanced to the Master of orchestral sound and power. There is love in the air between him and his orchestra. Hardly at the pit; he begins straightway to conduct as if he could not wait to start to make music. From the very first minute and throughout the performance one is overwhelmed by his musicality and his knowledge of Wagner’s´ score. With each instrument group perceptible en detail and yet sounding like unique entity, Petrenko's temperament and endurance seemed to have no limits of never decreasing high emotional level. We witness precise, accurate, yet relaxed, energetic and dynamically powerful conducting in the prelude to the first act; The sensitive, thoughtful, reflective, almost impressionistic prelude to the third act and melancholic, romantic feeling in dynamically perfectly balanced “Johannisnacht” choir in the second act.


Despite lacking some pointing and emphasizing towards Wagner’s political and social concerns as well his ideas about the role of the art and artist, this production nevertheless offers a rare opportunity to experience an amenable, easy "Meistersinger” of an excellent musical quality. The production will return to the National Theater on Max-Joseph-Square next season with performances on September 30th, as well as on October 3rd and 8th 2016.

Cast on July 31st, 2016:
Conductor: Kirill Petrenko, Stage director. David Bösch, Stage setting: Patrick Bannwart, Costumes: Meentje Nielsen,Video: Falko Herold , Light: Michael Bauer Dramaturgy: Rainer Karlitschek , Choir: Sören Eckhoff, Hans Sachs: Wolfgang Koch,Veit Pogner: Christof Fischesser,Sixtus Beckmesser: Martin Gantner, Kunz Vogelgesang: Kevin Conners, Konrad Nachtigall: Christian Rieger, Fritz Kothner: Eike Wilm Schulte, Balthasar Zorn: Ulrich Reß, Ulrich Eißlinger: Stefan Heibach, Augustin Moser: Thorsten Scharnke, Hermann Ortel: Friedemann Röhlig, Hans Schwarz: Peter Lobert, Hans Foltz: Dennis Wilgenhof, Walther v. Stolzing: Jonas Kaufmann ,David: Benjamin Bruns, Eva: Sara Jakubiak, Magdalene: Okka von der Damerau, Night guard: Tareq Nazmi. Bavarian State Orchestra Choir and extra Choir of the BSO.

**Oxana Arkaeva. The Winner of Placido Domingo World Opera Contest in Mexico, soprano Oxana Arkaeva, enjoyes vast range of concert and opera repertoire with more than a 100 roles sung and more than twenty years on international stages as well as a member of “fest” ensembles in Germany. Besides her singing career, she is involved in music project organizing and management activities. Curently she copmplets her Executive Master in Arts Administration (EMAA) studies at the Univercity in Zurich and acts as advisor and presentation trainer and for the person of public life and politic. Links: and

Stresa Festival 2016 - Galliano e Camerata Ducale

Renzo Bellardone

STRESA  FESTIVAL 2016 - GALLIANO E CAMERATA DUCALE Isola Madre, Loggia del Cashmere 27 agosto JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH, Concerto in do min. per oboe, violino, archi e basso continuo BWV 1060 RICHARD GALLIANO, Opale, Concerto per fisarmonica e orchestra d’archi
CARLOS GARDEL, Por una cabeza, per violino e archi RICHARD GALLIANO, Melodicelli, per fisarmonica e archi ANTONIO VIVALDI, Concerto in sol min. «L’Estate»,  per violino e archi RV 315
ASTOR PIAZZOLLA, Aria & Libertango; Oblivion, per fisarmonica e archi RICHARD GALLIANO, Tango pour Claude, per fisarmonica e archi; La Valse a Margaux, per fisarmonica e archi

Nel giardino prospiciente la Loggia di Palazzo Borromeo all’Isola Madre si è assistito alla costruzione di un ponte tra l’emozione conosciuta e l’emozione nuova che sorge dalla rivisitazione. Bach e Vivaldi incontrano la fisarmonica di Richard Galliano e le sue riscritture che illuminano di rinnovata luce e brillantezza contemporanea interrotta dai  lampi e bagliori dei ritmi  argentini e di tradizione. L’ensemble, quello della Camerata Ducale, è diretto da Guido Rimonda che si è esibito con il pregevole Stradivari del 1721 appartenuto a  Jean-Marie Leclair  al cui proposito si narra una storia avventurosa e misteriosa che culmina con la sua morte per assassinio nel 1764; il cadavere di Leclair venne scoperto solamente due mesi dopo la morte e il corpo, ormai in via di decomposizione, lasciò una macchia nerastra della mano che ancora oggi è visibile sullo strumento. Le violon noir, passato di proprietario in proprietario, è approdato a Guido Rimonda che lo suona ormai da anni in concerto. Questo violon ha un suono dolce e corposo da cui Rimonda trae voci e colori preziosi. Galliano e Rimonda, insieme alla Camerata Ducale, hanno colto e proposto una nuova idea di musica classica riscritta con tempi e ritmi di celebri ballabili conosciuti alla tradizione popolare, rendendo lieve e gradevole l’ascolto. La location di forte suggestione architettonica e paesaggistica ha compiuto l’opera di coinvolgimento emotivo attraverso una esperienza multisensoriale; l’aver proposto l‘Estate’ di Vivaldi nella riscrittura di Galliano che acuisce l’alternarsi di ritmi lenti ed accelerati è stato forse un involontario, ma efficace fil rouge con il concerto Jazz della Gambarini che aveva interpretato l’estate di Bruno Martino Concerto ‘tutto esaurito’ grazie ad un pubblico entusiasta. La Musica vince sempre.