Friday, 7 July 2017

Richard Strauss, Die Frau ohne Schatten - Bayerische Staatsoper, Nationaltheater

Performance 5th July

After years of intensive occupation with this marvelous work it seems obvious that I had to revisit the production in Munich this summer. Being my 4th production of FroSch this year I have a lot to compare. However, I already saw this production in Munich twice and there definitely are better ones. Compared to Die Gezeichneten Krysztof Warlikowski at least tells the story in a straight and more or less clear way, but the many connotations and odd pictures stay. While there is a lot going on all the time during this production it still fails very often to get to the core of the story. One could say that Warlikowski operates with some sort of diffuse conventionalism which creates some interesting pictures, but finally ends up rather random.
Kirill Petrenko led the musical part of the evening and was celebrated like a god. He certainly shows the greatest musical rendition of that piece I ever heard, but compared to earlier performances (2013 and 2014) some parts seemed a bit sloppy everynow and then. No really great issues, but several smaller moments when the accuracy could have been better. Nevertheless the Bayerisches Staatsorchester certainly gave a brilliant performance under the baton of its celebrated marvelous music director.
Most of the small parts were cast really well like the luxurious presence of Okka von der Damerau as voice from above or the guard trio (Johannes Kammler, Sean Michael Plumb and Milan Siljanov). Elsa Benoit was a great falcon and guard of the treshold with a beautiful and flexible soprano voice. Dean Power convinced not only as one of the three brothers, but also as fresh youngling with his youthful sonorous tenor voice.
Michaela Schuster once again (after Berlin) as the Nurse gave a solid performance again. Her voice tends to have a rather edgy sound and it is definitely not one of the most balanced voices, but she performs the part very smartly and gave a thrilling performance with her acting skills.
Burkhard Fritz (after Berlin AND Leipzig) once again showed that the role of the Emperor suits him well. He is absolutely reliable with power, delicacy and a good understanding of the role with all its difficulties. He seemed in better shape than in Leipzig lately and gave a flawless performance that evening.
Wolfgang Koch was also singing Barak in Berlin too and is one of the leading singers for that role as well. Except of some minor dangerous moments he did a great job with his flexible warm baritone voice and he seemed very playful during this performance.
As Färberin we heard Elena Pankratova (who lately jumped in at Oper Leipzig with that role) and she gave a marvelous performance even though she seemed not as fierce as usual. I had the feeling that she was a bit more careful that night, but still threw out one thrilling high note after another. Her warm and soft voice is also powerful and she definitely has a deep understanding of the character of the Dyer's Wife.
The title role of the Empress was sung by Riccarda Merbeth who sang the role for over a decade now. However she still sings it with intensity and a beautiful ringing upper register. I am not really a fan of her voice, but she undoubtedly sings the role with great security and no fear of any high notes.
Alltogether it was a lovely night and therefor I can give 9 stars to the revival of Die Frau ohne Schatten in Munich.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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