Posts Tagged ‘Adrian Eröd’

Does Katharina Wagner’s production of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg need another beating? There are directors who still believe that there is a burgeoisie to be epatée, but, even if you don’t understand why they are trying to shock you out of your salary-earning opera-ticket-buying life, at least they succeed to shock you (the name of Calixto Bieito comes to my mind), but Katharina Wagner disappointed me – I had understood that this was a shocking production, but it is only a boring production of someone who fancied she was saying something original. In her staging, all characters are reduced to cardboard complexity and what is supposed to be the trade-off, a discussion about about conformism/success vs originality/marginalization, even as shown here with inverted signs, has the depth and novelty of a raindrop. We know that Harry Kupfer has done some great productions in which the polarity between characters is changed, especially his Lohengrin for the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, in which Ortrud had right to accuse the delusional Elsa for killing her brother, but that was a result of a careful effort to find dormant ambiguities in the libretto. The rebel-without-a-cause who never took seriously the idea of becoming a Meistersinger in order to get the girl and, on getting her, pays the price of his originality in order to be established is simply not Walther von Stolzing, the already established self-assured gentleman who happens to discover his own voice on condescending to a bourgeois milieu in order to get the girl. Even if this is a twisted manouvre , at least there is a character development of some sort to speak of – poor old Sachs is a nonentity here, a provincial poet who profits of helping his rival in love just to drain him of a supposed geniality he himself envies. Is that the character for whom Wagner wrote music of such depth and nobility? I won’t say more, for the DVD can be easily purchased on-line and in CD stores – not by me, I am afraid, for Ms. Wagner’s family issues should be dealt with exclusively in the privacy of her home.

Sebastian Weigle’s conducting is the opposite of Katharina Wagner’s production – his orchestra is noble in color, solemn almost to a fault, rich in expressive, considerate tempi that require a more expressive cast to match. As the score tends to be ponderous and intricate, I tend to prefer a more objective, forward-moving approach featuring also clearer articulation, but that is a only a matter of taste. I know I tend to mention the closing of act II when I write about a performance of this opera, but that is a crucial scene extremely difficult to organize – and Mr. Weigle has done an excellent job in it. The orderliness had nothing stiff about it, the result being a extraordinarily spontaneous, with excellent contribution from the Festival chorus.

As in the Deutsche Oper, Michaela Kaune is a stylish, musicianly Eva, but her voice was even less focused than back in Berlin, when she had had a particularly beautiful moment leading the quintet. Klaus Florian Vogt too seemed less comfortable than in Berlin – his high notes a bit constricted. I still have to accustom myself to his disembodied tenor in this role that requires a more fervent tonal quality, but there is no denying that his is an unusually pleasant and natural voice used with good taste and stylishness. I must add that, although I disagree to the approach to the role of Stolzing in this production, Vogt embraced it with great skill, offering excellent acting. Adrian Eröd too excelled in the acting department and arguably produced the most satisfying performance in the evening, also adeptly and spiritedly sung. Norbert Ernst was a nimble, intelligent David, but a voice a little bit more generous would have enabled him to more variety. James Rutherford’s grainy bass-baritone is short in tonal and dynamic variety and also a couple of sizes too small for the role of Hans Sachs.

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