Edgar and Edmund’s father, the Duke of Gloucester, mirrors Lear. He is blind to the true feelings his sons’ have for him, and therefore easy to manipulate. Old age has made him vulnerable. Playing the role was the Turkish baritone, Levent Bakirci, who, again mirroring Skovhus’ Lear, looked and sounded much younger. He made an excellent impression nonetheless. His voice possesses an interesting array of colors, which he projects well, with clear, well-focused intonation,
boy-soprano Linus Schafer Goulthorpe was outstanding as the hapless young son of Wozzeck and Marie
Marlis Petersen is a versatile and engaging performer with a clean and excellent top and a secure middle voice. She was in her element as the self-centred, cold, calculating yet vulnerable diva manipulating – and being manipulated by – the men around her. It is not easy to sympathise with her character, and Petersen’s interpretation did little to give Emilia any warmth or love for others. She was dead inside almost from the beginning. She was joined by a strong ensemble of singers. Ludovit Ludha as Albert Gregor, Jan Martiník as Dr Kolenatý, and Peter Hoare as Vítek were all sonorous, articulate and dramatic. Bo Skovhus as Prus was a standout as he not only sang with power, vocal colour and nuance, but added depth to this usually callow character. All were impressive in bringing this complicated musical and theatrical work to a successful premiere.
"Cardillac" Hindemitha w reżyserii Mariusza Trelińskiego to triumf muzyki, stawiającej wysokie wymagania słuchaczowi, oraz polskich śpiewaków (...) Druga radosna wiadomość wiąże się z obsadą „Cardillaca". Nie trzeba było sprowadzać zagranicznych wykonawców, aby ta opera z trudnymi partiami wokalnymi i wymagająca świetnej dykcji w języku niemieckim mogła zostać świetnie wykonana na polskiej scenie. W obsadzie nie było słabych punktów, co jest ważne, ponieważ „Cardillac" jest operą zespołową, od wszystkich wymaga kunsztu. Świetnie zabrzmiały więc głosy Wojciecha Parchema (Młody) (...)
W roli Oficera (w inscenizacji Trelińskiego: Młodego) wystąpił Wojciech Parchem, który próbował nie tylko oddać wyrywność chłystka-anarchisty, lecz także pewnie wykonywał wszystkie mordercze dźwięki tej tenorowej partii.
Córka (Izabela Matuła) i jej ukochany, zwany tu Młodym (Wojciech Parchem), za to śpiewają znakomicie (...)
Jarrell, who created his own libretto, gave much thought to the setting of the French language and Racine’s alexandrines; he created a text that was free of the strict classical form of the language while retaining the sense of the original. The libretto for the ninety-minute work, presented in four sequences, was generally clear and apt, combining natural speech rhythms with more elaborate vocal flourishes for musical emphasis and some electronic murmurings from a pre-recorded chorus. There was warmth and a sustained atmosphere of reflective grief in the strings at the opening of the orchestral score, powerfully conducted by Jordan. Guth created athletic and stylized movement for the singers against Christian Schmidt’s classical-style three-room set. As the opera ended, there was a palpable sense of emptiness and despair as the three central characters each ended up in a state of glacial solitude. Racine’s final “hélas” produced a tragic orchestral sigh before a warm reception from the capacity audience
In the title role, the splendid Barbara Hannigan embodies the voice of passion and gives free rein to her emotions with agile and voluble phrasing. The final scene enlightens her personality in a new way, her singing seeming constrained as soon as she submits to the demands of duty. Conversely, Bo Skovhus's majestic Titus expresses himself in long and monotone phrases, his resignation expressed by rigidity of voice. But at times, the emperor allows emotion to swamp him: at this point, the singer shows his most wonderful effects: cries of distress and heavy-breathed sighs. In the pit orchestral profusion heightens the monotony of the voices, its timbre carefully balanced under the baton of Philippe Jordan. Contrasting atmostpheres flow from moving harmonic fields, the breaking of waves or nervous silences that match the dramatic meanderings. None the less, this carefully crafted texture is made from well-proven effects: don't expect the unexpected in this opera. If one's interest is in novel sonic experiences, what's lacking here is the prophetic exaltation which made Jarrell's Cassandre such a success. None the less, the conventionality of the music and the breathlessness of the libretto do not eclipse the merits of a high quality production, served by an unimpeachable cast.
Bieito’s dark production was staged on an austere but effective set of wooden planks designed by Rebecca Ringst, which opened up for the storm scene. The production was acted with an intensity rarely seen on the opera stage and free of any Regietheater excesses. The division of Lear’s wealth was simply represented by the daughters grabbing their part of a loaf of bread. Goneril and Regan, the sisters from hell, were sung with devastating power by sopranos Ricarda Merbeth and Erika Sunnegårdh on May 23. Both nailed the high tessitura of their roles with exciting accuracy and penetration. The opera is “full on” for much of the evening; vocal climaxes succeed one another with harrowing regularity. The second half of the opera is more reflective, as Lear descends into madness and despair. At fifty-four, Skovhus looked and sounded as young and fit as his daughters. Innocence and reserve come less naturally to the composer’s language, but soprano Annette Dasch achieved glowing beauty as Cordelia. In an evening of remarkable performances, special mention must be made of countertenor Andrew Watts as Edgar, who sang in both chest and head register with outstanding power and stamina, and baritone Lauri Vasar as Gloucester, whose terrifying blinding was managed with consummate skill. This Lear was a big triumph for the entire team and the composer, who were greeted with enthusiasm far beyond the polite reception usually accorded late-twentieth-century works here.
The singers maintain a sense of structure in their wildly veering vocal lines and intense onstage action. Angela Denoke’s Montezuma has a dramatic, direct soprano that communicates her character and emotions expressively. Opposite her stands Bo Skovhus as Cortez, who adds the challenge of surrealistic physical spasms to the already-considerable challenge of his vocal part. He approaches it with frankness that matches Denoke’s, singing solidly and straightforwardly. Both voices carry through the large space while maintaining a natural, spoken quality. Montezuma is supported beautifully by a rich-voiced contralto (Marie-Ange Todorovitch) and a bell-toned, inhumanly high soprano (Susanna Andersson), who sometimes sing from the pit and sometimes climb onto the stage to commiserate with her and do shots together. The two “speakers” (Stephan Rehm and Peter Pruchniewitz), who support Cortez, also manage their tricky rhythms and guttural grunts with accuracy and feeling. Rihm’s music and Konwitschny’s vision have combined to create something extraordinary that is simultaneously abstract and concrete, challenging and accessible, surprising and familiar, modern and ancient, exciting and bewildering. If this is a possible future of opera, it’s one worth pursuing.