Friday, 24 July 2009

Verbier Don Giovanni with Quasthoff, Terfel, Pape

A better casting for the male leads of Don Giovanni is hard to imagine. Unfortunately the ladies did not quite live up to their male counterparts. According to himself, this was Bryn Terfel´s last performance of Don Giovanni as the Don.

Manfred Honeck conducted the Verbier Festival Orchestra for this concert performance on July 20th 2009.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Salzburg 2009: Claus Guth with Cosí fan tutte

Cosi Fan Tutte. Salzburg Festival 2009. Production: Claus Guth. Conductor: Adam Fischer with the Vienna Philharmonics. Cast: Miah Persson (Fiordiligi), Isabel Leonard (Dorabella), Topi Lehtipuu (Ferrando), Florian Boesch (Guglielmo), Bo Skovhus (Don Alfonso), Patricia Petibon (Despina)

German director Claus Guth´s Mozart-Da Ponte trilogy was concluded at the 2009 Salzburg Festival with Cosí fan tutte featuring a starry cast including Miah Persson, Bo Skovhus, Isabel Leonard as well as Patricia Petibon. Adam Fischer conducts the Vienna Philharmonics.

We are at the end of a party at the girls rather fancy loft apartment - all in white with the occasional African mask. Bo Skovhus´ menacing Don Alfonso sets the tone immediately: This is not comedy, but rather Claus Guth shows us the personal consequences of the partner swapping resulting in four disoriented people at the end and as the action gets darker a certain recycling of the 2008 Don Giovanni forest, which progressively enter the house.

Essential to the success of this production, singer-actors are cast in all parts, with not even one weak link. The girls take centre stage and both girls look and act fabulously with a genuine interaction not always seen. The velvety sound of Isabel Leonard mixes well with Miah Perssons elegant soprano. The boys are more anonymous, but still competent. Bo Skovhus neurotic style and commanding presence is just right for Don Alfonso combined with Patricia Petibon´s in every way excellent Despina completes an outstanding cast.

Adam Fischer conducts the Vienna Philharmonics and as always we are far from the period-inspired performances some (not me though) may prefer.

Miah Persson and Isabel Leonard "Ah, guarda sorella":

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

Miah Persson: 5
Isabel Leonard: 5
Bo Skovhus: 5
Topi Lehtipuu: 4
Florian Boesch: 4

Adam Fischer: 4
Claus Guth: 5

Overall impression: 5
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