Saturday, 17 December 2016

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Die Entführung aus dem Serail - Opernhaus Zürich

Performance 15th December

The second evening of my opera tour through Switzerland was taking place in Zürich and probably the leading operahouse of Switzerland. Mozart's Entführung is one of his most successful operas and people usually know it very well. However the production in Zürich underwent some grave changes in both music and dialogues. Of course it is a very discussable matter to decide what might be changed and what mustn't be changed, but I have to say that the changes in Zürich definitely had a very interesting and effectful outcome. The production by David Hermann does not represent a linear plot but some sort of insight into the mind of the two main characters (Belmonte and Konstanze). The story is told from Belmonte's view and centers around jealousy and trust. The dramatic interventions and changes actually worked out pretty well and gave the story another new dimension and a very psychological point of view. Personally I thought it was brilliant, but I can also understand people who might be offended and disappointed. I think that the production succeds to give the audience an exciting evening full of funny moments, but also serious question to think about. The stage (Bettina Meyer) looked very elegant but also a bit sterile sometimes. I especially liked the bedroom with its beautiful violet colour and the elegant interior. The costumes by Esther Geremus were also very high-class and made an elegant impression.
The musical part was led by Christoph Altstaedt and the Orchestra La Scintilla who gave a highly appropriate performance. The sound of the orchestra was wonderful and totally filled with Mozartian style. It was easy, very light and also playful. Altstaedt had everything under control and was a very considerate supporter to the singers. The Zusatzchor der Oper Zürich also did a good job with a balanced clear performance.
Sam Louwyck as mute Bassa Selim was able to convey his character just through his charisma and his movements. The idea behind his was quite smart and worked out really well. Nahuel di Pierro as Osmin also gave a good performance even though I would like to have a voice that is more mature for this role because it simply does not work so well with a young voice. However di Pierro did a good job with his dark and agile bass voice.
Michael Laurenz as Pedrillo sang the role with a very expressive voice. His light tenor has a very dark but sometimes also edgy timbre. I personally thought that Mozart needs a bit more lightness and elegance, but Laurenz also sang the role without any problems.
Canadian soprano Claire de Sévigné perfectly sang Blonde with a voice that has a crystal clear timbre and the necessary flexibility and agility. The clarity and the beautiful sound of her voice were really lovely and it was a pleasure to hear her. Also her acting was really nice and made her portrayal highly convincing.
Pavol Breslik needed some time to warm up in the first half but once he was ready he really convinced the audience as Belmonte. His creamy bright tenor voice has a very elegant timbre and seems to be perfect for Mozart. He feels totally comfortable in this style and he also managed to convince with his acting. No wonder that this role is one of his signature roles at the moment and it definitely is no surprise if you have seen him perform it.
Olga Peretyatko was the show's Konstanze and I have to say that she did much better this time than some weeks ago in Berlin where I also heard her in this role. She seemed way more comfortable with the music this time and her singing was definitely more refined. I still think that this is not the perfect role for her, but she managed the many difficulties of it very well and gave a convincing performance. She sings her Konstanze very much in a belcanto style and less with a Mozartian manner which might be a bit strange sometimes, but altogether it definitely was a good and solid performance.
Altogether it was a very exciting evening and finally a production that has a really creative and interesting idea. I enjoyed every minute of it and can only recommend a visit at the opera in Zürich. Therefor; 9 stars.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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