Production reviews (3)

22 Sep - 19 Oct 2016
Così fan tutte, Mozart,  
Royal Opera House9 Performances
23 September 2016www.whatsonstage.comMark ValenciaReview: Così fan tutte (Royal Opera House)
Whenever Semyon Bychkov conducts Strauss I think I've died and gone to heaven. Here though, as he hauls himself through late Mozart, it's the other place that beckons. This Così fan tutte is beyond effortful: the maestro's laboured tempos in most of the arias are so extreme that he adds 15 minutes to the opera's standard running time.After a vocally tight first duet, both Corinne Winters and Angela Brower give delightful accounts of the young women. Winters in particular sings a Fiordiligi of rare range and beauty, with surprisingly strong mezzo notes as well as a radiant upper range. Brower's Dorabella could be more flighty in the second act, but that is down to the director's focus. Gloger shows little interest, either, in exploring the character of Despina, Alfonso's aide-de-camp, although Sabina Puértolas does what she can with her. Alessio Arduini sings a richly basso-shaded Guglielmo most winningly, but it is Daniel Behle who steals the laurels with an account of Ferrando's "Un' aura amorosa" in which time stands still (with a little help from Bychkov). What an exciting tenor he is! It all looks great, with an extravagance of fast-changing eye candy from designer Ben Baur that's exquisitely lit by Bernd Purkrabek, but the price to pay for Gloger's cleverness is an almost total detachment from the characters' psychological interplay—and that's a killer blow to this of all operas. Should the conductor share the blame for that? This Così will earn a revival, so we'll see.
17 Mar - 28 Apr 2013
Idomeneo, Mozart,  
Oper Frankfurt10 Performances
07 September 2019www.forumopera.comChristophe RizoudMozart à la sauce d'aujourd'hui
Il ne faut pas généraliser : si l’Allemagne est le berceau du Regietheater, toutes les productions germaniques ne sont pas assujetties aux principes d’absurde et d’extrême dont ce type de mise en scène tend à abuser. Pour autant, Idomeneo passé à la moulinette théâtrale de Jan Philipp Gloger n’échappe pas à certains des poncifs de notre époque. Transposition, mitraillettes et extrapolations en dehors des chemins balisés par le livret bousculent le plus œdipien des opéras.
01 May 2013operatoday.comJames SohreFrankfurt’s Intriguing Idomeneo
Never mind that the not-to-be-ignored ‘interpretations’ had to be ‘different’ at all costs; or that (often rankling) ‘insider’ concepts by groupie-inspiring-directors had to be explained (if indeed that were possible) with extensive program notes; or that decent enough singers were sometimes secondary to the buzz-worthy ‘event.’ The city opera house on the Main River was a place to see and be seen, challenge and be challenged. And then prime movers and shakers moved out, and the company seemed shaken indeed not only by those high profile departures, but also by devastating budget cuts in the last Time of Austerity. They almost cut the chorus entirely, for crying out loud! What followed was a well-intended but languishing period when the company’s productions unwillingly digressed from ‘shock and awe’ to ‘schlock and awful’ on more than a few occasions.