Sunday, 12 July 2015

Richard Wagner, Tristan und Isolde - Tiroler Festspiele Erl (Festspielhaus)

Premiere performance 10th July
After the Tristan performance in Munich I went on with my schedule and travelled to Erl in Tyrolia, where the "Austrian Bayreuth" is located. The Tiroler Festspiel Erl are a real pilgrimage destination for Wagnerians and lure with minimalistic productions and great young first-class singers.
The production of Tristan is leaded by musical ans scenical director Gustav Kuhn and features staging by Ina Reuter and costumes by Lenka Radecky.
The costumes remembered me of the Victorian age and looked very beautifully. The staging was quite minimalistic and just used a few props which had even more effect because of the overall simplicity. The whole production focused mostly on the acting of the protagonists which is risky but worked out very well in this production.
Kuhn and his orchestra (Orchester der Tiroler Festspiele Erl) were playing in the orchestra pit which was totally moved down and hidden by a black fabric ceiling. The audience could not see anything down there and so there was a little bit of Bayreuth atmosphere coming up. Though in Erl the orchestra sounded way more brilliant than in the special Bayreuth acoustics. The dynamic bandwidth was very big and it was a pleasure to hear them play so excellently from the most delicate beginning of the prelude to the ecstatic outbursts of the second act.
Giorgio Valenta, Markus Herzog and Frederik Baldus sang the roles of Junger Seemann, Hirt and Steuermann. All three of them have very nice strong voices with very cultivated timbre and convinced with gentle delicate phrasing. Wolfram Wittekind sang a solid Melot with a very sharp voice with a cutting timbre.
Michael Mrosek gave a wonderful Kurwenal with strong and warm voice. His timbre is very noble and has a very youthful quality. Also his acting skills made the third act very enjoyable.
As Brangäne Hermine Haselböck once again impressed me with her powerful and still very beautiful voice. She has the perfect voice for Wagner's demanding mezzo roles and has a very warm tender timbre. Her guarding song during the love scene in act 2 was magic and lured the audience into another world. Also her diction is really exemplary and impressively precise.
Franz Hawlata sang König Marke with the needed power in the lower register. His timbre might not be everyone's favorite but he did a great job in this role. The sheer despair of his character was omnipresent in his interpretation and I liked his performance very much.
A real highlight was Gianluca Zampieri as Tristan. His voice sounds quite natural and his stamina is quite impressive. Sometimes he seemed a little bit strained during higher passages but let's be honest, who would not in this incredibly demanding role? His portrayal was just great and I was really impressed by the sheer power of his voice throughout his whole range.
Same is valid for his Isolde who was sung by Mona Somm. Her voice is just huge and fills the auditorium with its warm and full timbre. Somm is a real power house and did not have any problems with singing over the full orchestra. Her upper register is clear and strong and shows that even heavy voices are able to sing good high notes. Her portrayal was very refreshing and showed Isolde as a young girl which genuinely is falling in love. Falling deep into it and finally dying because of it. Her Liebestod was quite fast but seemed very authentic and genuine.
Overall I liked Erl's Tristan very much and was thrilled by the whole performance. Therefore I give 9 stars to Erl's Tristan und Isolde.

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