Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Richard Wagner, Der fliegende Holländer - Staatsoper Stuttgart

Performance 29th January

The second evening in Stuttgart featured Wagner's famous opera about the cursed dutchman who is in search for love. The Staatsoper Stuttgart decided to play the original version from 1841 in a production led by Calixto Bieto. Bieto's interpretation is quite abstract in many ways. It features a lot of symbolic properties and a very modern view of the plot. The plain stage (Susanne Gschwender & Rebecca Ringst) the modern costumes (Anna Eiermann) showed a typical capitalistic society with all its whims. I thought the production was quite sophisticated and complex even though its aesthetics did not really appeal to me. Nevertheless you could tell that Bieto did really deal with the work intensively.
The evening was conducted by Georg Fritzsch who gave a very balanced performance. He showed intimate musicality as well as powerful outbursts during the big choir scenes or the climatic finale. The Staatsorchester Stuttgart also gave a solid performance with passionate playing and exemplary accuracy. Of course the Staatsopernchor Stuttgart (Zusatzchor) had a very important role in this opera and they gave a very refined performance except of a few inaccuracies. Especially the big scene in the final act was simply brilliant.
Torsten Hofmann sang a very fine Steuermann with his bright and clear tenor voice. I personally prefer a voice with a more youthful timbre, but Hofmann undoubtly gave a very fine performance anyway.
Idunnu Münch was a wonderful Mary with a beautiful dark mezzo voice. She has the necessary power, flexibility and playfulness that is important for that role and so she gave a marvelous performance.
Thomas Blondelle was a really superior Georg with his slender but powerful tenor voice. He showed great musicality and his performance was so expressive and thrilling that he reallyy gave me goosebumps several times.
As Donald we heard Attila Jun who also has a powerful instrument with a very imperious timbre, but he lacked the flexibility and agility to absolutely convince in this role. He seemed a bit to static sometimes and seemed to feel totally comfortable with the role.
The female leading role, Senta, was sung by Christiane Libor stunned me with her highly musical performance once again. I might repeat myself, but her voice is simply perfect for Wagner including not only power and flexibility, but also a beautiful warm timbre and good sense for phrasing.
James Rutherford was a good match for her as dutchman. His baritone voice has a dark but clear timbre and his power and stamina worked out well too. His performance also showed great musical talent and he did not give any reason for criticism.
Alltogether a very good performance with some very good singing and a very sophisticated smart production that features some really smart ideas. Therefor I give 9 stars to the production.
is definitely worth the travelling and so I give 9 stars to Elektra in Stuttgart.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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