Sunday, 19 February 2012
DVD Hamburg Carmelites
Dialogues des Carmelites. Hamburgische Staatsoper 2008. Production: Lehnhoff, Conductor: Simone Young. Cast: Alexia Voulgaridou(Blanche), Anne Schwanewilms (Lidonie), Kathryn Harries (Croissy), Gabriele Schnaut (Marie), Jana Büchner (Constance).
With this production, Nikolaus Lehnhoff has excelled in what he does best: Minimalistic productions based on geometric stage designs in discrete colours. Here: A black stage, no accessories. The colors are blue, black and white. It is very beautiful. In fact, Lehnhoff has created a staging to match the aetherial beauty of Poulenc. It also, unfortunately is very static, both in outlook and conception.
Essentially, Lehnhoffi is telling the story as I believe Poulenc would have had, though traditionalists may quibble that the production has been updated from the time of the French revolution until today,
a matter of less importance for this relatively ageless staging.
Of the soloists, only Gabriele Schnaut disappoints with an ugly wobbly sound. And to a minor degree Anne Schwanewilms whose voice is not well suited to the long vocal lines of Poulenc. Simone Young delivers a sumptuous reading of the score, which undoubtedly would have made her old mentor Daniel Barenboim happy.
Nikolaus Lehnhoff does not have the depth and interpretation of Tcherniakov´s recent Munich DVD. For the more traditionally inclined, Robert Carsen´s La Scala prodution is more lively and with an all-over better cast.
But this Carmelites is among Nikolaus Lehnhoff´s most beautiful productions.
The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):
Alexia Voulgaridou: 4
Anne Schwanewilms: 3
Kathryn Harries: 3
Gabriele Schnaut: 2
Jana Büchner: 3
Lehnhoffs staging: 3
Simne Young: 4
Overall impression: 3