Sunday, 30 November 2014

W. A. Mozart, Die Zauberflöte - Salzburger Landestheater

Performance 21st November

About one week ago I saw a performance of Mozart's Zauberflöte from the Salzburger Landestheater and since then I struggled what to write about it because I have never ever seen a worse performance before. What a pity! If you bring you bring Mozart's great work on stage in his hometown you definitely should get it right!
First of all problems was the production of the theatre's director Carl Phillip von Maldeghem which seemed like they just put everything on stage they had. And the idea of bringing the main protagonists on stage together with a puppet of themselves is just annoying. Especially because they always tried very hard to justify the use of those marionettes. The whole production was boring and lacked of ideas and imagination.
Another deficit was the musical interpretation (if you can call it like that) of conductor Stefan Müller and the Mozarteum Orchester. I don't know what the problem was but it sounded like they just played the notes like they would mean nothing at all. If I didn't know better I would have thought this was a rehearsal!! Again, what a pity that the Mozarteum Orchester itself obviously cannot perform Mozart properly.
Nevertheless, at least some of the singers did an acceptable job. The three ladies (Meredith Hoffmann-Thomson, Julia Stein & Tamara Güra) stood out quite positively and sang those lovely roles really well. The only problem with the ladies was that their dresses did a lot of noise, so here once again: thank you Mr. Maldeghem for not caring about that!!
Franz Supper as Monostatos was one of the few positive performances and did a really great job, both musically and theatrically. He did not have any problems to play well AND sing his difficult quick parts. Also his part as Erster Geharnischter was fine and satisfied my expectations.
Ugur Okay also performed two roles: Erster Priester and Zweiter Geharnischter. His voice seemed very strong but unfortunately his phrasing was really bad and made a cut-off impression many times. Also his diction which is very important in this opera was rather poor.
Rudolf Pscheidl, although I did not really hear him sing a lot, was one of the few highlights. He performed his role with a lovely bavarian accent and saved the evening with some funny moments.
The role of the speaker (Clemens Ansorg) also did a fine job but sometimes it also seemed a bit like he just spoke the words instead of performing a role.
When it comes to the three boys I guess noone would ever say something bad because you can't expect them to perform those role perfectly like adults (except they are professional child singers). One of those boys seemed to have gotten into this production not because of his singing but because of his name. I won't say more about that, but I think it was obvious that this was not a musical decision but a personal one!! Nevertheless, the other boys did a fine job and gave their best.
But now to the real disasters. The main antipodes, the queen of the night and Sarastro, were the main examples of bad casting this evening. The queen of the night, sung by Christina Rümann, is a very difficult role, everybody knows that, but what Ms. Rümann sang showed that she is definitely no queen of the night. Everything higher than a'' was surprisingly quite fine but everything below was a disaster. Her enormous vibrato and wobble are really annoying and totally inappropriate for this role. This is a classic example for singing in a wrong Fach and now I really question the responsible persons for the casting.
Alexey Birkus, who sang Sarastro, was not that bad, but still not appropriate for his role. He does not have enough power in the lower register which is maybe the most important one for Sarastro. The really deep notes were almost not hearable and you needed a lot of imagination. Also his diction was not satisfying at all.
Simon Schnorr sang Papageno and vocally did not have any bigger issues. Nevertheless I was a little bit disappointed of his acting. Papageno is a role where acting is way more important than the vocal quality. Schnorr however, seemed to be too focused on good singing than on acting out the role.
Ayse Senogul as Papagena was quite good and did a lovely job in her speaking parts as old lady. Although you could hear her accent she did quite a good job with her German. Both her singing and acting fitted perfectly to this lovely small role.
Tamino was sung by the swedish tenor (and new member of the ensemble) Kristofer Lundin. He has a nice tenor voice which did not have any serious issues with this part but nevertheless Tamino is not really his role. He seems to have a strong lyric dramatic tenor (jugendlicher Heldentenor) which is already a little too heavy for Tamino. But as I said, he did not have any big issues, just his diction was also a little bit shaky.
Finally the role of Pamina was sung by Laura Nicorescu and she did a good job. Although also her German had a big accent she convinced with her thouching musical interpretation and a lovely lyric soprano voice. Interetingly her diction during the singing was fine, just the spoken parts were a difficulty for her obviously. I really loved her timbre and the phrasing which really suited the role perfectly.
So in the end I can say that I was enormously disappointed of this evening, even though there were some good parts. I think it is a shame to perform with such a quality for the prices of the Landestheater. Some of the Mozarteum students could have done a better job than some of the singers at this evening.
The whole performance gets only 4 stars.

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