Semperoper in Dresden. 16 June 2013.
The most expected day arrived and the result has not responded fully to my very high expectations, although rarely may have the opportunity to attend a performance of this masterpiece of Richard Strauss with such a high global result.
As planned, Christian Thielemann led opera and was about to jump into the news, though I do not know what really happened yesterday in the Semperoper.
Regardless of the performance of Thielemann at the front of the show, though certainly related, something happened that The Maestro didn’t like.
Representation developed normally in the first two acts, delaying without explanation the beginning of the third Act, despite being the room filled and impatient viewers due to the delay that nobody was explained. The truth is that this second rest lasted no less than 48 minutes, until, finally, Thielemann went up to the podium and resumed the representation. In the final greetings the Maestro showed with a very serious face and withdrew immediately. I do not think that he was before the curtain more than 3 seconds and did not return to appear more, while singers greeted again and again. Something happened that made Thielemann not happy.
In strictly musical terms the direction of Christian Thielemann had ups and downs, or perhaps should better say that it had «ups and plains», because really low moments there were not, but not all had the level of excellence that reached some unforgettable moments of his reading. The accompaniment to the monologue of the Marshal’s wife and the duo with Octavian that closes the first act was unsurpassed, with a delicacy that cutted the breath. It must also be mentioned the end of the second Act and all the final part of the final act, where Thielemann streaked at high altitude in the beautiful trio and in the inspired duo of Octavian and Sophie. But not all his address offered that level, resulting particularly disappointing the Presentación of the Rose and slowing too much times, making the version lost pulse at other times. If this version of Rosenkavalier I hear it to another Maestro, I leave the theater excited, but for Thielemann one always expects the best. What did not fail was the excellent Staatskapelle Dresden, whose level of quality is beyond the scope of other very prestigious orchestras of big opera houses.
Obviously Christian Thielemann was not The One expected, except in exceptional moments, and only he and some others know what were the real reasons.
Yesterday wrote in my review of The Hollander that Dresden not normally offer flashy vocal deliveries. As there is no rule without exception, yesterday we enjoyed an exceptional cast, especially in what refers to the three main women of opera. Anne Schwanewilms, Elina Garanca and Anna Prohaska are a real luxury in any theatre and performances were splendid.
The character of the Marschallin is a gem that calls out a great singer. Today there are some truly exceptional sopranos in this character and there’s no doubt that Anne Schwanewilms is one of the best. It is not a soprano of those offered by Fireworks, but it lives the character with a rare intensity, translating a really exciting melancholy. She sang with exquisite taste, folding her instrument to the requirements of the interpretation. A great performance, full of excitement, elegance and good taste.
Elina Garanca is a consummate interpreter of Octavian and she demonstrate ir again. She continues to maintain the freshness of her instrument and great musicality. The Octavian problem is that it is always in the shade, when there is a good Mariscala onstage and here it was, what did not reduce the quality of the interpretation of the Garanca.
The low British Peter Rose was once again the baron Ochs and had a good performance. I have seen this production several times and almost always was Kurt Rydl who gave life to this character and cast, I missed out that Rydl that filled the scene and became the protagonist of the opera in the years in which his voice still had freshness. Peter Rose was fine, but on another level, away from what his colleague offered years ago. Britain’s biggest problem lies in the low notes.
Como Sophie was announced Daniela Fally, which was replaced at the last minute by Anna Prohaska, which continues to be a display of ability to solve last minutes problems of a theater of opera. The performance of the Austrian soprano was totally convincing in all respects. Voice light and sexy, very well managed and with a great deal of expressiveness. Surely, we have the best Sophie Faninal today. Apart from singing beautifully, it is immensely credible on stage.
To complete the luxury of sharing was Bryan Hymel who dealt with the Italian singer. This tenor has achieved a significant popularity last year singing successfully scores so committed as Aeneas in Les Troyens of Berlioz or Robert the devil, of Meyerbeer. The aria from the first act is a real «gift» to your interpreter, as the position can not be more complicated and many tenors have obvious difficulties to graceful exit from this authentic trap. It has not been the case of Bryan Hymel, which has resolved the difficulties really well.
Martin Gantner was a good interpreter of Faninal both vocal and stage direction.
Appropriate, as always, Irmgard Vilsmaier of Marianne character.
Appropriate the intriguing pairing of Thomas Shorrocks (Valzacchi) and Helene Schneidermann (Annina).
The wide distribution of co-first actors was frankly well covered.
The offered production is bellongs to Dresden, carrying the signature of Uwe Eric Laufenberg, that I have had the opportunity to see here 3 years ago on several occasions, the last time that I saw was when represented at the Liceu in Barcelona.
Production moved the action to the sixties of last century and his stage direction works well to averages. A classic Act in stage design, the work of Christoph Schubiger, with good moments, especially in the scene of Octavian and the Marschallin and good movement in scene in the vendors. A second act well got, moving the House of Faninal to a skyscraper with a large window and a reception with light bulbs and photographers. Well got the intrigue of the couple of Italians as paparazzi wiping Windows from outside. Loose the scene of the Presentation of the Rose, which lack life and charm and pass thread performance of those clods accompanying Ochs. A third act of loose, without a doubt the least got Opera, where there are no grace or surprise. Suitable costumes for Jessica Karge. At the end it is a production that is going from most to least, ending at a quite loose line.
El theatre was literally crammed. The public cheered performers, being the great achievers Schwanewilms, Garanca and Prohaska. Thielemann was very well received, but it was hardly seen.
Representation began promptly and lasted a total time of 4 hours and 52 minutes, including two intermissions. The purely musical duration was 3 hours and 22 minutes. The final applause continued for 8 minutes the most expensive ticket price (center stage) was 99.5 euros. Platea armchair cost 93,50 euro, passing from 74.50 in back rows. In the upper floors prices ranged between € 74,50 and 46,50 €. The cheapest location with visibility cost 28,50 EUR. Unbeatable balance price/value!
José M. Irurzun
Traducción al inglés: María García-Rosado