Wednesday, 5 November 2008

DVD: Vienna Werther with Elina Garanca

Werther. Vienna State Opera 2005. Production: Andrei Serban. Cast: Marcelo Àlvarez (Werther), Elina Garanca (Charlotte), Adrian Eröd (Albet), Ileana Tonca (Sophie). Conductor: Philippe Jordan. Further information here.

Adrian Serban
uses a unitary set for this acclaimed Vienna State Opera production of Werther. Dominated by a big tree, appropriately serving to anchor the characters as well as to show the passing of time with the changing leaflets. Serban´s Werther is a psychological drama about conventions and relationships. As relevant as ever. Appropriately set in the conservative 1950´s. dominated by a big tree.
"I have always done my duty", Charlotte says a some point. And that is the real tragedy of Werther - that Charlotte does not have the courage to break with conventions and leave Albert, or at least have a hidden affair with Werther.

Elina Garanca is simply perfect as Charlotte - vocally superb, with that hint of coolness in both voice and dramatic presence ideal for Charlotte. And her voice really is extraordinary even and smooth throughout the range. I believe this part was her major international breakthrough - most deservedly so.

Fine performance from Marcelo Àlvarez as Werther, though he lacks the last inch to be believable dramatically as Werther, something I am convinced Rolando Villazón will have in spades for the June 2009 revival (if on top Villazón will be as vocally secure as Àlvarez, he will be perfect).

Albert´s part (fine performance by Adrian Eröd) was expanded as he overhears/sees one of the exchanges between Werther and Charlotte, adding to the credibility of his anomisity towards Walther. Same for Sophie (equally fine turn-out for Ileana Tonca), who quite visibly is in love with Walther, but, like Charlotte, is afraid to admit her feelings.

Splendidly accompanied by Philippe Jordan, in a refresningly unsentimental, though still poignant reading.

Elina Garanca/Marcelo Àlvarez from Werther Act 3:



Posted on YouTube by marcelissimo

The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):

Marcelo Àlvarez: 4
Elina Garanca: 5
Adrian Eröd: 4

Andrei Serban´s production: 5

Philippe Jordan: 5

Overall impression: 5

Overall impression: 5

7 comments:

Beckmesser said...

Excuse me, but what language are they singing in ? Don't tell me it's supposed to be French !!!
A shameful rendition of our beautiful language, I have to say... and this suffices for me to mark this Werther as a must not buy...

Dolcevita said...

Totally agree with Beckmesser. This Werther is vocally pretty mediocre, the staging is quite lame and I really don't understand why they decided to release it on DVD. Guess they figured many peops would buy it once they see the pic of Elina Garanca on the cover...

Carlos said...

Once again, of course! As always frenchs complaining about non-french singers singing in french. Typical french comments. It is ridiculous... It was nice this summer when a journalist asked to Michel Plasson about the "typical french complain" related to Pape (I think) in Orange and he was quite angry with the question, stressing out that he had a very good french diction and was singing great in french. I loved it to hear that, at least once, from a french. Bravo Maestro!

On the other hand, this Werther was an excellent performance. I saw it before the dvd was released and it was great.

Beckmesser said...

Hi Carlos !

What do you think of Alvarez's and Garanca's French on this clip, I wonder ?

NV said...

We call that charabia... in french...

Dolcevita said...

Heh Carlos, nice try but I am NOT French. Not only the atrocious pronounciation is a problem with this production. It's bad on so many levels. This DVD is about the "Garanca" label (and to a lesser extent "Alvarez") to sell more. In a few years this will be long forgotten as it should. I love Elina but this was really miles away from her usual level.

Dolcevita said...

Heh Carlos, nice try but I am NOT French. Not only the atrocious pronounciation is a problem with this production. It's bad on so many levels. This DVD is about the "Garanca" label (and to a lesser extent "Alvarez") to sell more. In a few years from now this DVD will hopefully be long forgotten...


P.S. I love Elina but this was really miles away from her usual standards.

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