Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Giuseppe Verdi, Il Trovatore - Deutsche Oper Berlin

Performance 28th May

After almost 12 years the Deutsche Oper shows a revival of Verdi's masterpiece Il Trovatore in the production of Hans Neuenfels. Having seen it now I understand why they did not play it for so long. Hans Neuenfels is known for his progressive strange productions and was responsible for many scandal productions for decades now. The production of Il Trovatore is not really scandalous but simply grotesque and very often his ideas do not make any sense (which is probably the plan). The stage and the costumes made by Reinhard von der Thannen look really strangely and are not really supporting the plot at all. It is really a boring production that seems just to try to be progressive and abnormal.
At least musically it was a good evening. Roberto Rizzi Brignoli conducted a very balanced transparent score with focus on the beautiful melodies of the opera. The Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin realised his ideas perfectly and so it was a very exciting performance of the orchestra. The Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin seemed not as well prepared and was a bit too weak. Especially the famous choir at the beginning of act 2 did not sound organically and convincingly.
In the small roles of Inez and Ruiz we heard Annika Schlicht and Burkhard Ulrich who both were quite a luxurious casting for these roles. Schlicht has a very beautiful warm mezzo voice and phrases very beautifully. Ulrich's tenor sounded unusally dark and made me wish for more of his singing.
Ferrando was sung by Marko Mimica with his powerful dark baritone voice. I really love his voice because it has a very heroic youthful timbre and his performances are always solid and exciting.
Dana Beth Miller sang Azucena and gave one of the most exciting performances of the evening. Her highly dramatic voice and her very convincing acting made a huge impression. Her lower register used a bit too much chest voice, but her phrasing was really thrilling. Especially in the dramatic outbursts she totally convinced and her final "Sei vendicata, o madre" gave me goosebumps.
In the role of Luna we heard Dalibor Jenis with a dark but very slim baritone voice. He gave a solid performance but seemed a bit one-dimensional. His voice was a bit unbalanced from time to time and I missed the richness of the lower register. However his portrayal was solid.
My personal highlight (and the reason to see the performance) was Angela Meade as Leonora. I never had the pleasure to hear her live before and so I was very excited to see her. Her strong voice has a dark lower register and a clear bright upper register. Her effortless high notes are simply mindblowing and vocal acrobatics are definitely her strengths. The only thing that is interfering a bit is the sometimes strong vibrato, but it did not affect the overal impression. Sometimes she seemed a bit insecure at certain moments and generall gave a very risky performance. However it worked out really well and was really impressive alltogether.
Murat Karahan jumped in as Manrico and needed some time to really get into the character. While being a bit one-dimensional and unbalanced during the first act he improved a lot afterwards and sang a brilliant "Di quella pira" with a ringing high c that left the audience breathless. If he had managed to sing as clear and balanced during the whole performance it would have been an exceptional performance. Maybe he will work on that and then I would love to hear him again.
Alltogether it was a solid performance with some nice highlights. Unfortunately the production was a bit disturbing and dimmed the overall impression. I would give 8 stars to the Trovatore at Deutsche Oper.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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