Sunday, 30 September 2012

Triple Carsen, triple DVD, triple show

Three productions by Robert Carsen, all already released on DVD, all previously reviewed here, opened the 2012-13 seasons in Paris and Venice:

Les Contes d´Hoffmann. Bastille Opera, September 12th 2012. Production: Robert Carsen. Conductor: Tomas Netopil. Cast: Stefano Secco (Hoffmann), Jane Archibald (Olympia), Sophie Koch (Giulietta), Ana Maria Martinez (Antonia), Kate Aldrich (Muse), Franck Ferrari (Villains).
  • An elegant theatre within the theatre production taking place during a performance of Don Giovanni, already released on DVD and reviewed in detail a couple of years ago. However with an entirely different cast of singers now presented:
  • Stefano Secco, is a competent, though neither very distinctive or individual Hoffmann. The same goes for Franck Ferrari´s villains.
  • Jane Archibald, the coloratura soprano who seems to be everywhere at the moment, most definitely has the notes for Olympia, but she also seems to lack a certain distinctiveness.
  • Individuality is something which Sophie Koch definitely has, though coupled with an at times somewhat excessive vibrato in the best performance of the evening together with:
  • Ana Maria Martinez, who has a quite exceptional voice with a very distinctive high-frequency vibrato. 

Capriccio, Opera Garnier, September 11th 2012. Production: Robert Carsen. Conductor: Philippe Jordan. Cast: Michaela Kaune (Countess), Bo Skovhus (Count), Adrian Eröd (Olivier), Joseph Kaiser (Flamand), Peter Rose (La Roche), Michaela Schuster (La Clairon).
  • An elegant production-within-production production (!) reviewed in detail here.
  • Was Deutsche Oper Berlin house diva Michaela Kaune really first-choice for this production? I somehow doubt it, as she doesn´t quite seem to have the name of carrying a big role like this in the season opening of Opera Garnier.
  • Nevertheless, though not the most distinctive singer, she was highly applauded for a beautiful and moving Countess. She lacks the glamour that Renée Fleming brought to the DVD, but then she also comes without Fleming´s at times irritating vocal manners.
  • Bo Skovhus now seems definitely past his prime, with an increasingly wide vibrato which comes with  increasingly neurotic stage manners.
  • Michaela Schuster is effective rather than glamorous, while Adrian Eröd sings with great beauty and warmth as opposed to the cooler Joseph Kaiser, underlining Madeleine´s choice, I suppose.
  • Philippe Jordan, as usual, was quite excellent and possibly received the largest applause of the evening.
La Traviata, Opera Fenice, September 26th, 2012. Production: Robert Carsen. Conductor: Diego Matheuz. Cast: Jessica Nuccio (Violetta), Ji-Min Park (Alfredo), Simone Piazzola (Germont).
  • Half the fun of a performance of the Teatro la Fenice opera of Venice is getting there (and away): Wandering the narrow streets besides the canals or perhaps even arriving with boat.
  • Chosen for the reopening of the opera house in 2004 (being reconstructed after a major fire), the production is already available on DVD and has already been reviewed in details on this site.
  • Perhaps for these historic reasons, firefighters were present in large numbers throughout the performance, especially on the upper level of the theatre.
  • The production remains innovative and interesting, though more so with the DVD cast than with the cast actually in the theatre: Ji-Min Park, not the most charismatic of singers never quite seemed to warm up, though Jessica Nuccio gave a quite moving., though not overly precise performance.
  • I must admit to not remembering much else about the performance.
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