After La Bohème and The Last Savage I continued my operatic program here in Santa Fe with the Apprentice Scenes on Sunday evening. The Apprentice Program is one of the most prestigious in North America and attracts a number of the most talented young singers each year. As I had missed their auditions earlier this month I was happy to see them see fully staged scenes with piano from The Cunning Little Vixen, Lee Hoiby's Summer and Smoke, John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles, Semele, Carmen, Idomeneo, Porgy and Bess and Italiana in Algeri. It was quite amazing to see how these young artists inhabited their roles and there was some substantial future star material to watch. What I hadn't known is that the program isn't for singers only, it is also open to young stage technicians. What an opportunity for all of them to learn their craft here.
We Germans have a difficult relationship with Charles Gounod's Faust. The reduction of Goethe's famous play to a simple love story between Faust and Marguerite leaves a bit too much to be desired. In fact, for a long time the opera was performed as Margarethe in Germany to obscure the connection with Goethe. For more succesful treatments of the same subject I would rather go to Berlioz, Boito or Busoni. All that said there is some terrific music in Gounod's score. Who could resists the magic of the Garden Scene or the Final Trio, especially when they are as sylishly performed as by Frédéric Chaslin in the pit and Bryan Hymel (our Pinkerton and Don José in 2009/10), Ailyn Pérez and Mark S. Doss (our Thoas in Iphigénie en Tauride this coming September and October). I'm still humming.
Alban Berg's Wozzeck might contain a few less hummable melodies, but the performance I heard here on Wesnesday evening was outstanding. A great cast inculding Richard Paul Fink in the title role (his last role with the COC was the Water Goblin in Rusalka), Nicola Beller Carbone as Marie (our Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) and Eric Owens as the Doctor (I'm very happy that he will perform with the COC in the future) and David Robertson in the pit made Berg's great score sound like the kind of music Mahler might have written had he lived for another twenty years. Don't think I am trying to take away any of Berg's merits as a composer with this remark. To me, Wozzeck is one of the very few perfect operas and I feel very lucky that after the brilliant performance at the Met in April I got to hear this wonderful piece performed so brilliantly a second time just a few months later.
Vivaldi's Griselda will be my last Santa Fe Opera tonight.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (0) / permalink
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