Monday, 17 August 2015

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro - Salzburger Festspiele, Haus für Mozart

Performance 12th August

The third part of Salzburg's current Da Ponte cycle is Figaro's marriage in a wonderful production of the current director of the festival Sven-Eric Bechtolf. He transferres the plot into the early 20th century and created a very beautiful, funny and convincing version that reminded me of the British TV series Downton Abbey. The staging (Alex Eales) and the costumes (Mark Bouman) just looked marvelously and very beautifully. Especially the ladies had wonderful costumes that looked really elegantly and stylishly.
But not just optically the performance was a success, also musically. Conductor Dan Ettinger and the Wiener Philharmoniker gave a very tasteful performance with brilliance and sense for the beautiful melodies that Mozart wrote for this opera. The orchestra sounded lushly and very delicately.The Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor also gave a fine performance during the few choir scenes.
In the smaller roles of Don Basilio, Don Curzio, Barbarina and Antonio we heard  Paul Schweinester (what a very beautiful voice), Franz Supper (solid as always), Christine Gansch (also a lovely voice) and Erik Anstine.
Carlos Chausson gave a very noble and elegant Don Bartolo with his noble timbre. His voice suited the role perfectly and his performance was really good. He and Murray were responsible for many of the audience's laughter.
Someone who impressed me very much was British mezzo Dame Ann Murray who still has quite some power and a very solid voice. Murray shows that female singers would certainly be able to sing on a high level for several decades if they look after their voices appropriately.
Margarita Gritskova sang a lovely Cherubino with a quite beautiful voice and a very warm clear timbre. Also her acting was lovely and made her portrayal really convincing. Her voice has such seamless transitions that everything she sings just sounds wonderful.
Martina Janková obviously had no voice in the morning but managed to be able to sing in the evening. There was no sign that she was ill at all. Her light and clear soprano sounded great with its very delicate and beautiful timbre. But not just vocally she was convincing, also her acting showed that she is a first class performer, especially for Mozart roles.
Her Figaro, Adam Plachetka, also performed marvelously with his strong and wide baritone voice. His voice was a good contrast to the count with its solid sympathetic timbre. His whole performance was a great symbiosis of singing and acting. He was able to show every shade of his character with his singing.
The role of the count was sung by Italian baritone Luca Pisaroni. His voice is very changeable and he sang a very noble, but also very human count with all his deficits. In contrast to many other interpretations he also was a quite funny count. Many lovely details made this role much more sympathetic than it normally appears to be.
As Countess we heard young German soprano Anett Fritsch who sang Donna Elvira last year. Her voice is very delicat but also quite strong with a wide lyric timbre. I had my doubts if she would be able to fill this role appropriately but I do have to say she did a good job. I personally think she would still need some years to fully grow into this role but she already performed it on a very high level. Only during a few moments I would wish for a bigger voice. Besides her musical portrayal, also optically she was a very elegant and beautiful Countess.
The new Figaro of the Salzburg festival might not be totally perfect but it is getting quite close. I can genuinely say that I had a most enjoyable evening with great music, great scenery and lovely acting skills.
Therefore I give 9 stars to the new Figaro.

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