Friday 8 May 2015

Richard Wagner, Das Liebesverbot - Oper Leipzig

Performance 2nd May

As last missing Wagner stage work in my collection his second opera Das Liebesverbot was my occupation last saturday. Its music has some really obvious Italian influences with catchy tunes and lovely ensemble numbers. Besides his own style (which is definitely present already) he combines Italian melodic skills au Bellini with dramatic power au Beethoven. Very often I also was reminded of Weber and at some parts even of Operetta (in a very positive way). Some of his tunes really stayed in my mind the whole evening and I was delighted by the light comedic style that I was not used to when it comes to Wagner.
The production of Aaron Stiehl (stage: Jürgen Kirner, costumes: Sven Bindseil) was quite sophisticated in terms of a main idea but still funny and hilarious when it comes to its effect. The idea of the three main spheres (Jungle of wild love, Friedrich's tidy order, and Isabella's spiritual bright sphere) was very impressive and made many relations way more understandable. In general Stiehl's management of the scenes and roles was very smart and helped the performance over several weaknesses of the piece.
Matthias Foremny and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig had some issues during the ouverture which was not played totally accurately, but they managed to eradicate those problems. During the rest of the performance they were able to maintain a high level of accuracy. Nevertheless Foremny was able to capture the musical content very appropriately and supported the singers quite well. Also the choir (Chor der Oper Leipzig) was fine and did a good job performing Wagner's high demands.
Martin Petzold as Pontio Pilato sang his small role with exemplary diction and clarity. Dan Karlström, Jürgen Kurth and Sejong Chang also did a fine job in their quite short roles.
Tuomas Pursio sang Friedrich, the opera's villain, and was able to capture this character really well with his baritone voice which has a youthful but still noble timbre. His portrayal was really convincing and in the end you just could not be angry with him.
In the role of Claudio we heard Guy Mannheim who has a magnificent wagnerian tenor voice with immense power and very heroic timbre. He managed to convince with dramatic play and thrilling phrasing.
Mark Adler as Luzio has a lighter tenor voice which suited this quite comic role perfectly. He was responsible for some really funny moments. At some parts he seemed to have issues with the very high demands of his role but he made a fine overall impression.
Maybe the best  male performance of the evening was done by Reinhard Dorn as Brighella. With wonderful acting and hilarious humor he made the audience laugh immensely. But not just his play was lovely, also his voice fitted perfectly into his character. His whole performance was a wonderful pleasure.
In the role of Mariana Olena Tokar jumped in for the ill Marika Schönberg. She has a lovely light soprano with quite some power. Her whole performance was really wonderful with beautiful phrasing and a really thrilling overall impression. Only the ending was quite unpleasent, but only because poor Mariana ended up alone anyway.
As Dorella we heard Magdalena Hinterdobler who has a lyric soprano with a very beautiful timbre and great legato skills. Unfortunately she was covered too easily from time to time, but nevertheless I enjoyed her appearances immensely.
In the main role, Isabella, Lydia Easley showed her wagnerian soprano voice which has a very broad and warm sound. Only in her higher register she tends to sound shrill and too steely. Also her stamina sometimes could have been better. Especially during the exposed dramatic outbreaks she had some issues with being covered by the orchestra. Still she managed to convince in her role without any major problems and gave a fine performance in total.
The whole Performance was really enjoyable and so I give it 8 stars.

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