Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Franz Schubert, Lazarus - Salzburger Festspiele, Felsenreitschule

Performance 24th July

The first concert I attended at the Salzburg festival was part of the Ouverture spirituelle and featured two most interesting fragments by Schubert. First the famous "Unfinished" symphony and the also unfinished "Lazarus".
The concert was conducted by Ingo Metzmacher who is a master of colorful intellectual interpretations. He made all the different colors and shades of darkness from the gloomy score of Lazarus to hearable and managed to give a most pleasurable performance. The Camerata Salzburg seemed to have some issues to fulfill all his requirements and seemed not totally harmoniously. Especially during the beginning of Lazarus there obviously were some serious issues because Metzmacher stopped the performance after the first few minutes and started everything again leaving the audience quite surprised.
The symphony was performed very interesting with a magnificent dynamic range that really impressed me a lot. The dramatic flow of the first movements was just ravishing and left me breathless while the second movement seemed to be not as exact as the other one.
After the second start also Lazarus went off very well and the orchestra managed to follow Metzmacher's instructions without any issues. The Bachchor Salzburg gave a wonderful performance during the few choral passages and sounded very spiritual and pious. The soprano solo during the second part sung by Bachchor member Anna Hempel who sang her part very well with a very beautiful and delicate voice.
The role of Simon was performed by Thomas E. Bauer who seemed a little bit mannered from time to time. Also I sometimes thought his voice could be a little broader, but anyway I had a fine overall impression.
Sophie Karthäuser gave a very bright and light Jemina with a clear upper register and a very soubrette-like timbre. She performed her small scene during the first part very well.
Werner Güra sang the role of Nathanael and convinced with a very delicate and soft tenor voice. His portrayal was very touching and the role suited his noble voice perfectly. Especially during the delicate parts he was really impressing.
As Martha we heard German soprano Christiane Libor, who was a pleasing contrast to the light sopranos. Her Wagner-proven voice convinces with great balance between powerful stamina and delicate pianissimi. It is such a pity that the work stops during her exciting aria of the second part.
Lazarus' other sister, Maria, was performed by Marlis Petersen who also has a very light but clear soprano voice. Her timbre is not as light as Karthäuser's but still is very clear and beautiful. Her aria during the first part was sung very beautifully and made a great impression.
Last but not least Maximilian Schmitt sang the title role of Lazarus with a very noble and youthful tenor voice. His portrayal of the dying protagonist was very touching and he managed to really deliver the drama of his character.
So in the end I can say that the performance was some kind of strange and sublime at once. Nevertheless it was a pleasure to hear those interesting pieces in the matching ambiente of the Felsenreitschule (rock riding school). Salzburg's Lazarus gets 8 stars.

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