Monday, 1 June 2015

Richard Wagner, Tannhäuser - Oper Leipzig

Performance 31th May

What a night!! And what a finale of the Wagnerfesttage in Leipzig!! The Tannhäuser concert yesterday evening was a full success with incredible singing on a magnificent level. I have to admit that I had goosebumps during almost the whole performance. Even though it was just a concert performance (semi-staged) the whole cast did a marvelous job delivering the story.
Matthias Foremny conducted the Gewandhausorchester and the Chor der Oper Leipzig so delightfully amazing with such love for details and the overall impression of the score. The orchestra sounded so mighty and solemnly during the big scenes, but also delicately and soft during more intimate scenes. The choir mastered his several scenes, that are probably the most famous ones of the opera, without any problems with much grace and beauty.
In the small role of the young shepherd Jennifer Porto gave an impression of her lovely light soprano voice that suited very nicely to this role. She could have sung it a little bit more like the simple shepherd songs.
Dan Karlström and Sejong Chang sang the two smaller roles of Heinrich der Schreiber and Reinmar von Zweter. Both still had the chance to give an impression of their voices during the smaller ensemble scenes. Karlström with his strong light tenor voice and Chang with a profound noble bass voice.
Also showing exemplary nobility (and a bit of agressiveness) was Tuomas Pursio as Biterolf. His noble and powerful baritone voice suited the role, which always seems a bit rude, perfectly.
In the role of Walther von der Vogelweide, Sergey Pisarev was able to show his really beautiful tenor voice with a very gentle timbre. He surely did not have the biggest voice, but it genuinely is a very beautiful and clear one.
This time Rúni Brattaberg totally convinced me that Hunding in Walküre just is not his favorite role. His portrayal of the Landgraf Hermann was so noble and strong. His powerful profound bass voice suited the role of the loving father and regent so very appropriately
Another real highlight was Kathrin Göring as Venus. I already knew that she is a very strong performer, but this Venus really was sexy, seductive and so beautifully sung that everyone would just have stayed with her.
The male highlight for me was Mathias Hausmann as Wolfram von Eschenbach. I personally think that Wolfram is the real hero of the opera (who needs tenors anyway), because he is just such a lovely and honorably person. Hausmann sang the role with a strong baritone voice with wonderful legato phrasing and a very beautiful lyric timbre.
Daniel Kirch sang the male protagonist Tannhäuser with a powerful tenor voice which sometimes had some issues with intonation. Still his portrayal was very passionate and convincing. Everynow and then I thought he could have performed the role with a little bit more ease but anyway, his performance was really good and the role really is quite demanding.
And now finally to my total highlight of the evening: Christiane Libor's Elisabeth is just magnificent. She has the perfect balance between powerful stamina and beauty of tone (including the most delightful pianissimi) which is essential for this role. The whole character just suits her like a custom-made glove. Her prayer in the third act almost made me cry! Bravo, really bravo!
If this had been a real staged performance I think I would have turned mad because of its superiority. Nevertheless I will award 9 stars to this really marvelous grande finale of the Wagnerfesttage Leipzig.

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