There’s relatively little I can add to the general chorus of celebration surrounding the Ring Cycle led by Daniel Barenboim at the Proms last week. Essentially, all the superlatives have been taken, and there are none left for me at this point. Some brief observations, then… (more…)
As the year pootles to a close, need a quick catch-up on a couple of events of a couple of weeks ago, and they are two concerts in which I have to declare an interest, knowing people performing in both.
On 15 December, Opernhaus Zürich brought their Fliegende Holländer over, with everything bar the sets, and launched it headlong onto the flat oceans of the Royal Festival Hall. As with much Wagner in concert, it still transcended the rather brightly-lit auditorium and the dry acoustic, and from our seats in the side stalls (sort of ‘slips’ seats along the edge) they managed to get across a good measure of the thrill and drama of the score. (more…)
Tim Albery’s production of Der Fliegende Holländer returned to Covent Garden and, better late than never, I’m able to jot down my thoughts on the last night, 4 November.
It was notable for a very split approach to the pacing of the drama: onwards from the meeting of Senta and the Dutchman, right through to the conclusion, it was electric; Senta’s Ballad, however, seemed to me a perverse essay in how slowness can be confused with profundity and, momentarily, it threatened to derail the whole two-hour-and-a-half hour enterprise. (more…)
Rushing off to the station to go to Paris. In summary, Torsten Kerl afflicted by an allergic reaction to something. Ian Storey as stand-in. Very good, though inevitably a bit uncertain clambering around the curves. Lost the battle with the third act orchestra. Georg Zeppenfeld as King Marke fabulous. Anja Kampe an outstanding Isolde, warmer than many a voice to sing that role and held out for a fabulous Liebestod. Conducting started all fiery drama, caught the mood of act 2, but sort of lost tension in the third act (or maybe Storey did?) and the Leibestod didn’t quite have the thrust and pulse that I like to have in my, umm, orchestral orgasms. Fabulous night though… more later.