Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Richard Wagner, Tristan und Isolde - Salzburger Festspiele

Concert Performance 22nd August

Once again the Wagner ban of the Salzburg Festival was overridden for a concert performance of the Tristan Vorspiel, the full second act and the famous Liebestod. This single evening Performance featured a cast that many opera houses dream of. Daniel Barenboim conducted the West Eastern Divan Orchestra very delicate with enough dramatic Feeling during the ecstatic outbreaks. The only big Problem was that the singers were situated behind the orchestra which is - especially for a Wagner Performance - quite suboptimal. Luckily enough the singers were powerful enough to sing over the orchestra most of the time. It could have been way more impressive if the singers were situated in front of the orchestra.
The small role of Kurwenal in the second act (originally casted with Domingo) was just cut out due to his health issues. The also quite small role of Melot was sung by Stepan Rügamer who has a very strong tenor voice with a very youthful timbre.
Ekaterina Gubanova sang a very beautiful Brangäne with a very strong dramatic voice. Unfortunately she has a very strong and annoying vibrato that made her "Habet Acht" calls quite unpleasent. It really is a pity that her vibrato is so strong because otherwise she would have been a really great Brangäne.
René Pape sang a very strong and touching Marke who understood to deliver the disappointment and dismay of this unlucky character. His powerful bass voice has a very noble timbre with a touch of depression.
Peter Seiffert was an enormously powerful and elegant Tristan. He had no Problems to be heard over the orchestra and his Interpretation was very delicate and elegant. His voice has a very hero-like dramatic timbre and he sings with great ease.
The evening's highlight was - of course - Waltraud Meier as Isolde. Her signature role still suits her voice phenomenally and she definitely still has her high c's. She Shows that Wagner singing is not just about big voice but about intellectual and dramatic interpretations. Interestingly enough she does not have any problems with the high tessitura even though she sings her mezzo roles at the same time. Her timbre, her tone and her dramatic interpretation are just an epitome of wagnerian drama.
Her Liebestod is a Musical adventure that is captivating from the first note to the very end with "höchste Lust". The whole Performance was just unbelievably exciting and I loved every single second of it. Only a few things were missing for the perfect Performance but anyway it was a great evening with finest singing.
I give the Project Tristan and Isolde 9 out of 10 stars.

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