Friday, 4 September 2015

Jules Massenet, Werther - Salzburger Festspiele, Großes Festspielhaus

Performance 22nd August

Another concert performance was Massenet's opera with a mezzo as female lead based on a novel by Goethe. Due to personal reasons Elina Garanca (who was originally planned to sing Charlotte) had to cancel her involvement but the festival managed to find another Diva to jump in.
The Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg was led by Alejo Pérez who might not have been the perfect choice for french opera. It was ok but sometimes I missed the diversity of colors which is so typical for french opera. Nevertheless the orchestra gave a fine performance with a nice balance between dramatic outbursts and delicate melodies.
In the smaller roles we heard Ruben Drole (Johan) with a very gentle warm baritone voice, Martin Zysset (Schmidt) with a light clear tenor and Giorgio Surian as Charlotte's father (Le Bailli) with a profound dark bass voice.
Daniel Schmutzhard sang a very elegant and noble Albert with his lovely baritone voice. It has a youthful and heroic color with a warm smooth timbre. His phrasing was very tastefull and showed great musical intelligence.
A personal highlight for me was Elena Tsallagova as Sophie. Not just does she look enormously elegantly, she also sings most delicately with a lovely light soprano which has quite some power. Every phrase she sings sounds extraordinarily gently and her whole performance was just marvelously.
The diva replacement for the role of Charlotte was Angela Gheorghiu who is quite the personification of a diva. Already during her first appearance one had the feeling that she thought the opera was called Charlotte and not Werther. Nevertheless she gave a brilliant performance even though this role definitely calls for a mezzo soprano. During the lower parts of the role she sometimes had issues with the volume. Her performance was lovely and the audience was very thankfull for such a wonderful replacement.
The main attraction of the evening was the protagonist, who was sung by Piotr Beczala. His strong and gentle tenor voice is on the top of its possibilities. The timbre of his voice is probably best described as warm, youthfull and noble. He sang his role so elegantly and intensively that the whole performance was just ravishing. His high notes seemed quite effortless and sounded so purely.
The whole evening lasted quite long (it started at 9pm and finished at midnight) but was quite a success with delightful singing and a great cast. So I give Werther in Salzburg 9 stars.

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