Sunday, 17 May 2015

Carl Maria von Weber, Der Freischütz - Semperoper Dresden

Performance 3rd May

After a lovely evening in Leipzig I travelled to Dresden to see the new production of Weber's Freischütz, which I consider to be one of the greatest operas of all time. Especially for Dresden it is a very important work for Weber was and still is a very important person for the city and it was played the night before the horrific inferno in 1945.
Axel Köhler manages to set up a quite traditional production without any kitsch or moments that remind of Oktoberfest or anything like it. With the help of Arne Walther (staging) and Katharina Weissenborn (costumes) he brought up a production that is thrilling, beautiful and enormously convincing. Every little detail fitted into a magnificent overall impression and at no time you had the feeling that anything seemed inappropriate. It definitely shows that noone needs over-modernized productions to be creative and serve the work appropriately!! My highest respect for this really succesful production.
Christian Thielemann manages to conduct this famous opera with great accuracy and many details I did not hear ever before. He and the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden do not have to fear the comparison with the famous recording of Carlos Kleiber. Every single phrase was performed with great artistry and I never had the feeling that there were any questionable decision.
The choir (Sächsischer Staatsopernchor) managed to absolve their many important passages without any problems and supported the soloists perfectly. The famous choir scenes (choir of the maids, the hunters' choir) were lovely and surely highlights of the evening.
Sebastian Wartig sang the role of Kilian and gave a charming performance with his little song in the beginning of the opera. His voice had everything that role calls for: agility, power and still a gentle timbre.
Albert Dohmen sang a very rough and aggressive Kuno, but apart of his interpretation he was really good with a strong powerful voice.
Adrian Eröd managed to radiate noble superiority and mightiness in the role of prince Ottokar. His diction is enormously clear and his voice fits into those noble roles perfectly.
In the role of evil Kaspar we heard Georg Zeppenfeld who is kind of like Dresden's favorite. His profound voice convinced with evil darkness in its timbre and surprising fine agility in his quite demanding songs in the first act.
The lovely role of Ännchen was performed by Christina Landshamer who also has the ideal voice for her role. A sweet timbre with great agility and of course great comedic talent. Sometimes I wished that she would have had more power but her performance was great anyway.
Tenor Michael König sang the male leading role, the hunter Max, and did a wonderful job with it. His light voice also has a quite heroic sound with fits perfectly into this role. He depicted the despair and helplessness of his character really convincingly and I really like his whole portrayal.
For me the most positive surprise of the evening was Sara Jakubiak as Agathe. Due to the fact that I always have Gundula Janowitz in my ears when it comes to this role most sopranos have quite some hard time to satisfy my expectations. Nevertheless Jakubiak had no problems to convince me that she can definitely cope with Janowitz. She has a lovely strong soprano with a very beautiful timbre and a great dynamic range. It was magnificent how convincingly she portrayed this role with such grace, beauty and enthusiasm.
So finally I would say this was one of the best performances I heard and this is why I would give it even the full 10 stars.

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