Monday 8 April 2013

waltraud meier shines as fidelio in dark production

Fidelio. DVD. Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Valencia. 2006. Production: Pierluigi Pier´Alli. Conductor: Zubin Mehta. Cast: Waltraud Meier (Leonore), Peter Seiffert (Florestan), Matti Salminen (Rocco), Ildiko Raimondi (Marzelline), Juha Uusitalo (Pizzarro), Rainer Trost (Jaquino), Carsten Stabell (Don Fernando).

A largely traditional dark, greenish production with no obvious raison d´être as I see it, if not for the possibility to see Waltraud Meier in top voice in one of her best-loved roles. To be honest I have never found Leonore-Fidelio an obvious fit for Waltraud Meier´s voice. Nowadays, very much an on-or-off artist, I heard her live in the part about five yearsago on an off night, which was no pleasure, believe me. This DVD was recorded around the same time, and here, luckily she is in top shape with an effortless “Abscheulicher” and an overall very moving character portrayal.

Peter Seiffert sings his one aria reasonably well, both Matti Salminen and Juha Uusitalo are in fine voice as Rocco and Pizzarro respectively and I have nothing to reproach the other performers.

However, the personenregie seems altmodisch and the production is very, very dark. While I realize that it most likely was equally dark in the prison in which the opera takes place, it nevertheless does not make for exciting theater.

Zubin Metha represents old-school Beethoven and without being extraordinary, the orchestra nevertheless is almost as dense as the staging.

Nevertheless, a DVD mostly for fans of Waltraud Meier.

Waltraud Meier: "Abscheulicher".

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

Peter Seiffert: 3
Waltraud Meier: 4-5
Matti Salminen: 4
Ildiko Raimondi: 4
Juha Uusitalo: 4

Pier´Alli´s production: 2-3
Zubin Mehta: 4

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