Anna_Caterina_Antonacci

Twee ‘Les Troyens’ uit de archieven

berlioz_les_troyens_-_gardiner

Persoonlijk houd ik niet zo van Les Troyens. Het is me te statisch, te klassiek van vorm ook, want op zoek naar zijn ideale klankbeeld reisde Berlioz terug in de tijd, Gluck achterna.

Een goede voorstelling kan echter wonderen verrichten, en zie: een wonder is geschied.

De in 2003 in Théatre du Châtelet op 3 DVD’s (Opus Arte OA 0900 D) opgenomen productie van Yannis Kokkos kan ik in één woord worden beschrijven – FANTASTISCH!

Van het begin tot het eind keek ik geboeid, en was vol bewondering voor zowel de regisseur (die ook de enscenering en kostuums voor zijn rekening nam) als ook de zangers.

In de eerste twee akten koos Kokkos voor sensationele visuele effecten, die beginnen nog voordat het doek opengaat. Middels spiegels en projecties, kleuren en lichten, ontstaat een multidimensionale voorstelling, niet begrensd door regels, noch door de logica.

Zo creëert hij een stad in een stad, zo kunnen we de glorie van de oude Troje nog aanschouwen op hetzelfde moment als zij al onder gaat. Het Carthago gedeelte is wat rustiger, hier overheersen de harmonie en geometrische lijnen.

De opera wordt gedragen door twee zangeressen: Anna Caterina Antonacci, een sopraan met een fantastische laagte, sensationele gebaren en onbegrensde mimiek imponeert als de gekwelde Cassandre en de zoetgevooisde Susan Graham zet een bijzonder ontroerende Didon neer.

Susan Graham en Gregory Kunde in ‘Nuit d’ivresse’:

Maar ook met de heren is er helemaal niets mis: Gregory Kunde (wat een prachtige, makkelijke hoogte!) schittert als Énée en Laurent Naouri is een imponerende Narbal/Le Grand Prêtre.

John Eliot Gardiner dirigeert het zeer transparant spelende Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

Troyens Domingo

Een jaar of tien geleden heeft DG (0734310) een behoorlijk ingekorte voorstelling van de Metropolitan Opera op dvd uitgebracht. Het dateert uit 1983 en is (hoe kan dat anders?) zeer traditioneel, met alles daarop en daaraan. Prachtig vind ik het! Machtig, overweldigend…

En kijk maar eens wie de vertolkers van de hoofdrollen zijn: Jessye Norman (Cassandra), Tatiana Troyanos (Dido), Plácido Domingo (Aeneas)!

Jessye Norman als Cassandra:

Sterfscène van Didon (probeer het droog te houden!):

De opname zelf is ook bijzonder: omdat er, tijdens de live tv-uitzending op 8 oktober de elektriciteit was uitgevallen, werd een klein deel van de tweede akte geplukt uit een eerdere voorstelling.

Jimmy Levine dirigeert zoals we van hem gewend zijn: spannend, groots en met spierballen.

It all started with Paganini: DYNAMIC celebrates its fortieth birthday

DynamicThe genesis of Dynamic can be read as a real fairy tale. The label was founded  forty years ago by Pietro Mosetti Casaretto (1925-2012), a violin-playing surgeon with an enormous passion for classical music. Initially, only chamber music works were recorded, all performed by the many friends (including Salvatore Accardo and Bruno Cannino) of the founder.

Mosetti Casaretto, a sincere admirer of violin music in general and of Paganini in particular, set himself the goal of recording Paganini’s complete oeuvre, which he more or less succeeded in doing. The catalogue mentions 35 Paganini titles, many of them performed on the famous violin of the composer/virtuoso.

In 1996, however, there was a turnaround: Dynamic signed a cooperation contract with the opera festival in Martina Franca. With live recordings of weird and unknown operas and of lesser known versions of Macbeth and Lucia di Lammermoor, for example, Dynamic quickly became popular among opera lovers.

Nowadays they also work with other (small) Italian opera houses, such as Teatro La Fenice (Venice), Teatro Lirico di Cagliari and Teatro Regio di Parma. The company initially focused mainly on DVDs, nowadays all titles are offered on both DVD and CD.

With a few different titles, chosen by myself mainly for their high rarity, I settled down on the couch: the party could begin. What struck me immediately was that most of the operas were directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi. Coincidence?

Dynamic Pizzi

Pier Luigi Pizzi © Studio Amati Bacciardi

According to Stefano Olcese (production supervisor), it had indeed been pure coincidence at first. “But”, he adds, “Pizzi was so enthusiastic about what we were doing that he wanted us to join him when he directed another opera”. And so it happened.

I’ll start right away with two Pizzi operas – productions for which he also designed the costumes and sets.

 

Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Bizet)

Dynamic parelvissers

A production with a lot of ballet, and that bothers me a lot. When yet another dancer floats through the famous duet and thus hides the singing gentlemen from my eyes, I want to give up and read a book.

Yet it won’t let me go, so I watch again. I don’t regret it, although it is still hard for me to persevere. The blame lies mainly (except for the ballet) with the tenor: Yasu Nakajima is mainly meaningless and superficial. Too bad.

But Annick Massis is a truly enchanting Léïla. Only in her place I had chosen the baritone (good Luca Grassi). All in all: provided you do not hate ballet, it is a reasonable recording of that opera on DVD.

Below Annick Massis and Yasu Nakajima in ‘O Dieu Brama!

 

Hans Heiling (Marschner)

Dynamic Hans Heiling

Somewhat hesitantly I started Hans Heiling. Never before did I hear it, let alone see it. From Marschner I only knew Les Vampyrs. Besides: after all the hassle with the ballet in Les Pêcheurs de Perles I fear the worst. Well, that was a surprise! I immediately recognized Pizzi: his predilection for colour (mainly red in all its shades), excesses and physicality is evident here too, but it really works here.

Hans Heiling (Jan Svatos in Czech) was a legendary king of spirits, his name is often found in Czech and German legends. He falls in love with an earthly girl and swears off his magic power to marry her.

However, she is in love with an ordinary boy and rejects him. Disillusioned (only a man can try his luck on earth) Heiling returns to his underground kingdom. A male equivalent of Rusalka, but without the tragic end.

There is insanely good singing and acting, there is not a single weak role. I already knew how formidable Anna Caterina Antonacci can be, but the (also to the eye) very attractive Markus Werba is a true discovery. Very exciting and dazzling. Recommended.

Below a fragment of the production:

 

Alfonso und Estrella (Schubert)

Dynamic Schubert

Another surprise! I love it: a romantic fairy tale about an old king, who is thrown off the throne by his rival, and about his son who falls in love with the daughter of his father’s rival.

After some complications (there is also a real bad guy) everything goes well: Alfonso and Estrella get married and the old king gets his throne back, which he then promptly hands over in favour of the young couple. And there is also a moral: a really big man forgives his enemies.

The music is very beautiful. No, it’s not a masterpiece, but still … it’s unmistakably Schubert. There are a few incredibly beautiful ballads: a song by Froila about the cloud girl, for example. Or a touching ‘Wo ist sie’ by Mauregato, who thinks he has lost his daughter.

Eva Mei, Rainer Trost, Alfred Muff, Markus Werba and Jochen Schmeckenbacher play and sing exceptionally well, and I also think the staging (directed by Luca Ronconi) is a great success. In a setting of string instruments only, the opera is played out two-dimensionally: on stage and on the platform behind it, where puppets play the scenes.

In the first act the singers are dressed in evening dress (suggesting a song recital?), in the second and third act they wear period costumes from the region  (Spain in the eighteenth century).

Like Hans Heiling, the piece was performed in 2004 in Cagliari, an opera house that is not afraid of unknown repertoire.

More Dynamic (a selection):
Il Matrimonio segreto, a somewhat forgotten niemendalletje
LALO: LE ROIS D’YS
GIOVANNI BOTTESINI: Requiem

In Dutch:
Het begon met Paganini… Dynamic viert zijn veertigste verjaardag

Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator