Sunday, 3 July 2016

Giuseppe Verdi, Rigoletto - Deutsche Oper Berlin

Performance 30th June

For my final evening in Berlin I chose to see the production of Rigoletto at the Deutsche Oper with a very good cast and a quite interesting production. The production was led by Jan Bosse and had some interesting ideas but always switched from extremely conventional conduct of the characters to very smart ideas. Same was valid for the stage (Stéphane Laimé) and the costumes (Kathrin Plath). While the stage (mirroring the auditorium most of the time in a way) stayed the same most of the time the costumes featured some outfits that could have been taken from Saturday Night Fever and others that could have been from a period staging of the opera (Gilda's dress etc.). I think the main idea of the production was clear and obvious, but it could have been elaborated a bit more clearly and consequently.
Musically I experienced some surprises. The orchestra pit was extremely low and you were not even able to see the conductor Giampaolo Bisanti when he was down there. Still he managed to lead a very clear and transparent performance with great contrast between the dramatic and the intimate parts. The Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin conveyed the atmosphere magnificently and sounded really brilliantly. The Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin on the other hand sounded a bit unbalanced and not totally focused at some point. Only the final representation of the wind by the choir in the final act worked out magnificently and almost gave me goosebumps.
The many very small roles were sung very appropriately by Rebecca Jo Loeb (a Page), Marko Mimica (a Court Usher), Álvaro Zambrano (Matteo Borsa), Thomas Lehman (Marullo), Elbenita Kajtazi (Countess Ceprano) and Andrew Harris (Count Ceprano).
Bastiaan Everink managed his two short appearances as Count Monterone very well with a powerful bass voice with very focused intonation and a very dramatic presentation. It was quite a surprise when he suddenly stood up from a seat in the middle of the real auditorium and started singing (one of the interesting ideas of the production).
Young mezzosoprano Annika Schlicht sang two roles, first she appeared as Giovanna (very well done, but it's just a small role), but later in the opera she sang the role of Maddalena. There she had the chance to show that her beautiful flexible voice is the right one to convey the sexual seduction of this role. A very warm and soft timbre as well as wonderful phrasing helped her to accomplish a great portrayal.
Albert Pesendorfer sang a very dark and creepy Sparafucile with his strong and profound bass voice. He really seemed like bad guy and his performance was very convincing, both vocally and acting-wise.
A real highlight was the Duca di Mantua performed by Yosep Kang. His bright and clear tenor has both power and a beautiful timbre. His phrasing and interpretation was really impressive and so he managed to make the whole role seem as if it was the easiest thing on earth. The famous aria in the final act sounded so easy and spirited that it was a pleasure to hear it. Bravo!
My main interest focused on Olga Peretyatko as Gilda. Peretyatko's voice probably is one of the most beautiful voices I ever heard and combines an extremely beautiful bright and clear timbre with an impressive technique and a thrilling performance. The sheer beauty of her singing in combination with the great presentation of the role makes her performance simply marvelous. Only some of the interpolated high notes seemed not to turn out as well as usually this evening, but that did not affect the overall impression at all. The only deficit is that her voice is so delicate that she is covered very easily during bigger scenes.
In the title role we heard George Gagnidze who was called indisposed because of some allergies in the beginning of the performance. However, I cannot imagine how he could do better. His strong flexible voice suited the role perfectly and his performance was really touching and ravishing. He was able to show so many shades of the character, both vocally and acting-wise, that I was really happy about his performance and he totally earned the great applause in the end.
Alltogether it was a very enjoyable evening with great singing and a very interesting production. Therefor I give 8 stars to the Rigoletto at Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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