Friday, 15 June 2007
Munich: Meier, Pape, Smith in Fidelio
Together with Freischütz, Fidelio probably has the unofficial status of German national opera. Which is probably the main reason it more often than not draws top-casting, in this case even including René Pape substituting at the last minute for I-don´t-even-remember-who.
Peter Mussbach´s Fidelio production for the Bavarian State Opera is, as always, minimalistic and aesthetic. In this case unfortunately, one may add a considerable amount of dust, resulting in a rather boring Fidelio: A large staircase in the middle of a plain room makes up the center of the production. Florestan seems hidden underneath a heap of trash. Any interpretative ideas on the part of Mussbach were clearly not communicated to the audience.
Waltraud Meier makes a very moving Leonore, in a part, which however is not ideally suited to her voice, at least not as it sounds now. The floating and expressive way of singing which makes her Wagnerian parts so exceptional, simply doesn´t come to its right in the more stringent requirements of Beethoven. Futhermore, she was considerably strained in the top. Biggest applause, quite deservedly, to René Pape: Excellent as always. Though Rocco, for him, is admittedly a medium-opportunity role. And Robert Dean Smith sang his one aria with conviction. Christof Prick conducted without creating attention, one way or the other.