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Showing posts from November, 2011

Wiener Staatsoper: More Old Fashioned Bel Canto in L'elisir d'amore

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Just as in the Wiener Staatsoper's recent production of Il barbiere di Siviglia this production of Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore goes back to the basic, classic style of bel canto performance, stripping away many of the inventions and conventions developed in the past several decades and returning to the basis of the art form. The production of Barbiere was certainly funny, but eschewed hilarity in favor of what felt like a very pure representation of bel canto melodrama.
Synopsis & general information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L'elisir_d'amore
L'elisir d'amore | Gaetano Donizetti
Dirigent | Marco Armiliato
Nach der Regie von | Otto Schenk Ausstattung | Jürgen Rose Chorleitung | Martin Schebesta
Adina | Aleksandra Kurzak Nemorino | Stephen Costello Belcore | Marco Caria Doktor Dulcamara | Adam Plachetka Giannetta | Jeanine De Bique Ein Trompeter | Konras Monsberger Diener des Dulcamara | Michael Burggasser
In simple bel canto fashion, the set did …

Wiener Staatsoper Review: Káťa Kabanová (Bad Opera)

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This production of a relatively less well-known opera by Leoš Janáček was, unfortunately, probably the most disappointing that I've seen at the Staatsoper. Some of my colleagues have disagreed with me about the quality of the production. I admit that I might have been listening to the cast on an off night or that I may have "missed" the intention of the production or the singers. No review is flawless, but an off night, while not a representation of singer's abilities, still makes for a poor night at the opera. Missing the point of a production may be a failure to understand, but as a well versed operagoer if a reviewer misses the point or fails to understand, it is likely the production is failing to communicate to the audience as a whole.
General information & synopsis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KáťaKabanová
Cast:
Káťa Kabanová | Leoš Janáček

Dirigent | Franz Welser-Möst Regie | André Engel Bühne | Nicky Rieti Kostüme | Chantal de La Coste Licht | André Diot…

Wiener Staatsoper Der Ring Des Nibelungen Wrap-Up

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This post is just to address the overall arc of the Wiener Staatsoper's Fall 2011 production of Der Ring des Nibelungen. These observations didn't feel appropriate to describe in any of the reviews of the individual operas, but a review of the cycle as a whole would be incomplete without them.

The set design was very mediocre. In the first three operas of the cycle it tended toward the abstract without actually going all the way down the rabbit hole. It is respectable that designers want to get away from the massive, grand sets and costumes with horns and metal bras. I imagine that there is a feeling among designers that they just can't top a "period" Ring set and that this well is dry. Nonetheless, if the decision is to go abstract, then full abstraction is probably requisite, rather than trying to make a literal interpretation feel abstract. This just leads to a sense that things were left out or skimped upon. Perhaps the greatest failing in the first three op…

It Ends: The Wiener Staatsoper's Ring Cycle

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After having waiting 20 hours and witnessing 18 hours of opera over two weeks, I have finally finished the Wiener Staatsoper's production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. I will finish up my own cycle of four reviews by dedicating this post to Götterdämmerung. It is well worth making general observations about the production of the Cycle as a whole (though some of these have slipped in already), particularly on account of the orchestra, but I will do this in a separate post. First: Götterdämmerung.

General information & synopsis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Götterdämmerung
Cast:
Christian Thielemann | Dirigent Sven-Eric Bechtolf | Regie Rolf Glittenberg | Bühne Marianne Glittenberg | Kostüme Thomas Lang | Chorleitung
Stephen Gould | Siegfried Markus Eiche | Gunther Eric Halfvarson/Attila Jun | Hagen Tomasz Konieczny | Alberich Linda Watson | Brünnhilde Caroline Wenborne | Gutrune Janina Baechle | Waltraute Zoryana Kushpler | Erste Norn Ulrike Helzel | Zweite Norn Idi…

It Yet Still Continues: The Wiener Staatsoper's Ring Cycle

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Siegfried, like DieWalküre is one of the linchpins of the Ring Cycle. Both of these operas are more recognized than Das Rheingold or Götterdämmerung. While the performances in this production continued to be generally solid, Siegfried did not feel as well put together as the preceding two operas in the cycle in the Wiener Staatsoper's production. The sets continued to be lackluster, and the voices, with some very notable exceptions, were neither as kind to the ear nor as consistent as in the other operas.

Synopsis & general information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siegfried_(opera)

Cast:

Siegfried | Richard Wagner

Christian Thielemann | Dirigent
Sven-Eric Bechtolf | Regie
Rolf Glittenberg | Bühne
Marianne Glittenberg | Kostüme
fettFilm | Video

Stephen Gould | Siegfried
Linda Watson | Linda Watson
Albert Dohmen | Der Wanderer
Tomasz Koniczny | Alberich
Anna Larsson | Erda
Wolfgang Schmidt | Mime
Ain Anger | Fafner
Chen Reiss | Stimme des Waldvogels


The sets for this production o…

It Continues: The Wiener Staatsoper's Ring Cycle

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Wagner's Der Ring der Nibelung continued at the Wiener Staatsoper with a well-sung production of Die Walküre. With all elements of the production the same (singers, conductor, director, designer), it had great continuity. This meant the singing and the conducting continued to be excellent while the design still did not impress.

General information & synopsis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Walk%C3%BCre
Cast:
Die Walküre | Richard Wagner
Christian Thielemann | Dirigent Sven-Eric Bechtolf | Regie Rolf Glittenberg | Bühne Marianne Glittenberg | Kostüme fettFilm | Video
Christopher Ventris | Siegmund Eric Halfvarson | Hunding Albert Dohmen | Wotan Waltraud Meier | Sieglinde Brünnhilde | Katarina Dalayman Janina Baechle | Fricka Donna Ellen | Helmwige Ildikó Raimondi | Gerhilde Alexandra Reinprecht | Ortlinde Aura Twarowska | Waltraute Ulrike Helzel | Siegrune Monica Bohinec | Grimgerde Zoryana Kushpler | Schwertleite Juliette Mars | Roßweiße
Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper Bühnen…