Sunday, 14 June 2015

Vincenzo Bellini, Norma - Bayerische Staatsoper München

Performance 13th June

Yesterday a marvelous performance of Bellini's famous opera took place in the bavarian state opera in Munich. A nice cast was led by not-from-this-world-soprano Sondra Radvanovsky. But first about the production.
The whole production (including staging, costumes and light concept) was designed by Jürgen Rose. It was quite dark with a few intensive blue contrasts. Rose also mixed together some authentic elements with modern aspects and managed to bring up a production that suited the opera quite appropriately. I especially liked the idea of using two seperate floors during the last scenes of the first act and the first scenes of the final act. I thought it looked quite impressively.
Musically Paolo Carignani led the Bayrisches Staatsorchester very tastefully and controlled through the piece. His interpretation was more focused on the dramatic content of the score than on too extensive focusing on the melodies which I thought was very good. The dramatic power of the orchestral passages were really nice and the singers were supported very well by Carignani and the orchestra.
Also fantastic: the Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper which sang the several choir scenes really wonderfully with great taste. I especially liked the "Guerra" scene during the second act for it was so rousing and exciting that I really had goosebumps.
Francesco Petrozzi sang the little role of Flavio, Pollione's friend, and did a good job. It is not really a role to shine bright but anyway he has a nice voice and sang beautifully.
Oroveso was sung by Mika Kares who has a huge instrument with a very dark profound timbre. Especially during the final scene I really liked his singing and acting for it really displayed the emotions of his character very convincingly.
Golda Schultz shined bright in the small role of Clothilde. Her clear soprano is quite strong for a lyric / light soprano and her timbre was just genuinely lovely and cute. I would love to hear her Sophie at this year's Rosenkavalier in Salzburg for she seems to have the right voice for this role.
Pollione was sung by Italian tenor Massimo Giordano. I personally thought that his voice sounds very natural and not as artificial as many others. His whole portrayal was really captivating and I have to say I really liked it. Of course I also have to say that he did not really stand a chance next to Radvanovsky, but really, let's be honest: who would?
Ekaterina Gubanova gave a wonderful Adalgisa with a strong but still agile mezzo voice that also impressed with some quite high notes. She sounded really great throughout the evening and her duets with Norma were some of this evenings highlights. During the final of the second act duet with Norma she definitely shared the final high note which genuinely impressed me.
But the most impressive aspect of the performance was Sondra Radvanovsky as Norma. What a huge immense voice, not to mention her incredible voice control!! She filled the auditorium with such ease and magnificent stamine that one was literally blown away. But not just her power, but also her delicate pianissimi are just marvelous. She performed the most amazing decrescendi I ever heard, and that several times throughout the evening. Her powerful dramatic voice might not be the most agile one but she managed the coloraturas without any problems and her enormously dramatic and convincing portrayal was genuinely extraordinary. This woman is the Norma of our days without any doubt! Her whole performance (including a bombastic high d during the climax of act 1) is best described as "intense" and was totally worth every effort.
If you have the chance to attend one of the remaining performances I can just advise you to go and see it for it is a real spectacle! And therefore I give Munich's current Norma 9 stars.

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