After five days of rain it is freezing cold here now, 8 degrees Celsius.
For the end of this year's Festival I attended the final performance of Gounod's Roméo et Juliette yesterday. I had already seen Bartlett Sher's production when it was new two years ago, also with the young Georgian soprano Nino Machaidze as Juliette and our great Canadians Russell Braun (as Mercutio) and Yannick Nézet-Séguin in the pit, who conducted with even higher intensity than last time around. The major point of interest for me, however, was Piotr Beczala's Roméo taking over the role from Rolando Villazón. Beczala must be one of the most accomplished and stylish singers today. It was a pure pleasure to listen to his performance with wonderful French style and diction as well as effortlessly floated high notes. We have tried to get him to the COC, without success so far. We will try again.
Tomorrow afternoon we will be back in Toronto.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (1) / permalink
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (0) / permalink
Sometimes you only realize how much you've been starving for a certain piece or a certain artist when you encounter them again. That's how I felt yesterday sitting in the Grosses Festspielhaus (the big festival theatre) listening to Strauss' Elektra and Waltraud Meier's Klytemnästra. What a masterpiece Elektra is and how consummate an artist Waltraud Meier. The moment she arrives on stage you can't take your eyes off her and she draws you into the drama like very few can. I had missed her artistry.
I last did Elektra in 2005 in Paris, with Christoph von Dohnányi conducting, Deborah Pokaski in the title role and Felicity Palmer as Klytemnästra. Even though yesterday's performance didn't quite erase those memories there was a lot to enjoy in Nikolaus Lehnhoff's straightforward, extremely musical production with a spectacular set by Raimund Bauer. Iréne Theorin's Elektra was nuanced and beautifully sung, without the large vibrato we often experience in the role. Eva-Maria Westbroek, who had been my Chrysothemis in Paris as well, proved that there is still no better singer for this role today, and René Pape as Orest sang his few lines with utmost insight and beauty. With the Royal Concertgebouw's and Mariss Jansons' exuberance and perfection still in my mind Daniele Gatti and the Wiener Philharmoniker were up for some serious competition.
On the weather side we've been jealously watching the good weather and hot temperatures in Toronto. In Salzburg, it has been raining for two days and the temperature is down to 15 degrees Celsius. Autumn arrives too early.
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