Sunday, 20 September 2015

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro - Royal Opera House Covent Garden

Performance 18th September

Due to the fact that I am spending the next few months in the United Kingdom I decided to have a week off in London before I move on into the north. Having a full week here I definitely had to go to the ROH and see something. Lovely enough they just started performances of Mozart's Figaro and so I went to see the second performance last friday.
The production was directed by David McVicar who brought a very conservative version onstage which included a lot of lovely funny details. The way he let the roles just enfold their characters was really marvelous and enabled the plot to feel very understandable and close to everyday's life. The stage and costume designs (designer: Tanya McCallin) were utterly beautiful and made a wonderfull impression. Especially the second act and the final dress of the Countess looked marvelously!
Musically the evening started a little bit rough for during the first scenes the singers and the orchestra were not always matching together perfectly. In general Ivor Bolton seemed not to have everything under control all the time. I regularly had the feeling that they entered dangerous situations but they always managed to keep the danger away.
The orchestra of the Royal Opera House played lovely even though there were a few small details that troubled the performance from time to time. Nevertheless the overall impression was good and the British definitely know how to bring Mozart to life. Also the choir scenes (members of the Royal Opera chorus) sounded lovely and were very pleasant.
Heather Engebretson sang a very strong light Barbarina and showed some acting talent as well. Her voice sounds so smoothly and beautifully that it was a pity she did not sing more.
Alasdair Elliott sang a very know-it-all Don Curzio but made quite an impression during his short appearance. As did Jeremy White as Antonio who totally catched the audience with his wonderful acting during the finale of the second act. Don Basilio was funnily performed by Krystian Adam who also made a fine impression.
Carlo Lepore sang a very strong Bartolo with a very powerfull voice that sounded wonderfull, especially during his Vendetta aria during the first act. He upgraded his role vocally (if you can say that).
Once more I saw Dame Ann Murray as Marcellina and like one month ago at the Salzburg festival she did not fail to convince me. It is magnificent that her voice still has such quality and power. She did not seem weak or tired at all. Once again she proves that female singers are definitely able to be singing on a high level in their sixties.
A wonderful highlight for me was Kate Lindsey who I just saw exactly one month ago as Dido at the Salzburg festival. Now she sang the role of Cherubino and sounded marvelously once more. Her voice has such a warm and smooth timbre that everything she sings sounds like coming from heaven. But not just her singing was great, also her acting. She totally filled the character with life and was responsible for some of the evening's best jokes.
Stéphane Degout sang a very appropriate Count Almaviva with his very noble baritone voice. I would say that the timbre of his voice is just perfect for this role. He sounds noble, strict and passionate at the same time and his acting (especially his mimic) was wonderful as well. He sang his role really elegantly and did not fail to impress the audience at all.
His wife, the Countess, was performed by American soprano Ellie Dehn who gave her debut at ROH. The role of the Countess is very difficult because the role calls for a soprano with enough volume and maturity while having a very light and clear upper register. Dehn definitely has those abilities and sang a remarkable Countess. Her phrasing was so clear and beautiful that I was wishing to hear her arias once more again after she finished them.
Also a pleasure to hear was Anita Hartig as Susanna. She has a very strong light voice and a very beautiful crystal clear timbre. Her whole interpretation was nearly perfect with wonderful phrasing and very exact singing. Her performance was really exemplary and displayed many lovely details of her character. Like most other soloists she also showed some acting talent.
Her husband Figaro was performed by Erwin Schrott who I finally heard live now! He is such a stage animal with his marvelous acting and the phenomenal singing. Schrott definitely is one of the persons that can catch an audience with every little move they do and in addition he is able to fullfill the musical requirements in a thrilling way as well. His voice is very strong and everything seems to be very easy when he sings and still his voice seems to be very flexible. He is able to display a wide range of colors with his voice and his performance is best discribed by calling it excellent.
The vocal quality of the performance was even better than the one of the Salzburg festival this summer and impressed me a lot. But not just the singing was great, also the acting of the main protagonists was so convincing that one did not have the feeling that one is sitting in a theatre but being right there in the Count's palace!
I genuinely enjoyed the evening (even though I had to stand the whole performance) and so I would give the performance 9 stars!

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