Friday, 16 December 2016

Christoph Willibald Gluck, Orfeo ed Euridice - Theater St. Gallen

Performance 14th December

The first station of my spontaneous trip to Switzerland was the lovely city of St. Gallen in the northeast of the country. The theatre is quite busy and features many productions of operas, operettas, musicals and ballet works. The new production of Gluck's famous opera is a cooperation of the opera ensemble and the dance ensemble of the house. The idea to add the dance ensemble to the very small ensemble of singers (three soloists and the choir) is very smart and worked out very well. The production was led by the company's dance director (and choreographer) Beate Vollack who put a lot of choreography into the evening. Even the soloists became part of it and I think that the dancing helped to intensify the experience of the evening. The stage (Kinsun Chan) was very plain and only featured a black ramp on the backside and different floors (black, red and white attuned to the different acts). The main focus really was put on the interpersonal actions and their choreography. The also very plain and sober costumes (also Kinsun Chan) also helped to keep the focus on the direction of the characters.
The musical responsibility was taken by George Petrou who conducted the Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen with intensive energy and ravishing musicality. The orchestra played vividly and supported the singers very well. Especially during the second act I really liked the thrilling sound of the whole ensemble and the dramatic attitude. The Opernchor St. Gallen also mastered the choir part appropriately and convinced with refined balance.
The dance ensemble of the theatre were wonderful and gave a brilliant performance. No matter if they were the main act of just supported the singers they always gave a very refined impression. I especially loved how the ramp was put to use for the dancing. Of the whole ensemble I feel like I have to mention Alberto Terribile who really stood out. His performance was intense, full of energy and simply compelling. Also David Schwindling as the dancer Amor gave a marvelous performance with very rough gestures and expressive mimics.
The singer of Amor, Sheida Damghani, convinced with a beautiful light soprano voice that was very agile and flexible. She was lovely as feisty and devoted god of love.
Tatjana Schneider sang the role of Euridice and also had soprano voice with a light clear timbre even though her voice possessed a bit more dramatic weight than Amor. Only singing during the finale act she still did not fail to make a strong impression with a very smart performance.
The main role (Orfeo) was sung by countertenor Xavier Sabata. His alto voice is very balanced, is very flexible and has a soft warm timbre. He was able to convey every shade of emotion of this role and really gave an astonishing performance. Besides his musical skills he also cut a fine figure with his dancing which seemed to be very good.
Alltogether it was a very pleasing evening which showed that the combination of opera with dance is a very good idea provided that it is well done. In this case it was definitely well done and therefor I can give 9 stars without any doubts.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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