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Subject: Re: Bayerische Staatsoper's Christmas Trittico
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 8 Jan 2018 13:44:10 -0700

text/plain (134 lines)

I was glad to read your review.  I missed the broadcast, unfortunately.  I
am also a Trittico freak, especially Tabarro.  I always liked Eva Marie
Westbroek in Italian roles - she is a super Minnie.  She knows the idiom,
has a superb mid weight dramatic soprano voice and is thoroughly grounded
in the style as she was one of the last pupils of Iris Adami Corradetti.
Her voice has possibly seen too much Wagner of late but her earlier Italian
opera performances are beautiful.  I've never heard Jaho live but would
love to get the opportunity.  As far as I know, her only outing at the Met
was a Violetta in 2008 with Jonas Kaufmann as Alfredo.


On Mon, Jan 8, 2018 at 1:29 PM, G. Paul Padillo <[log in to unmask]>

> I don’t recall reading anything here during the holidays about the live
> webcast of this from Munich.  I thought it would remain on demand for a
> few weeks, but apparently this is not the case, and that’s too bad.
> I watched the live performance on December 23rd and, though I was
> puzzled by some of the directorial choices and the live video “editing” was
> riveted from start to finish.  One of the biggest issues I had were the far
> too frequent shots of Maestro Petrenko in the pit, every excruciating
> facial
> expression magnified and screen filing, and too often these came at
> important points of the score where watching the characters would be the
> logical choice.  One critic I read mentioned "I've seen symphony concerts
> that didn't show the conductor as much."  Still, a minor quibble, all
> things considered
> considered.
> The production is by Lotte de Beer and she begins the evening by
> presenting an odd, silent funeral procession for Tabarro.  One senses
> immediately, and correctly, that all three operas will take place in this a
> long tunnel-like set with a “surprise” special effect, which will tie all
> three
> together, though after the first, it really wasn’t much of a surprise.
> Eva Marie Westbroek looked great and sounded better than she typically
> does in verismo-esque operas.
> Jonghoon Lee and Wolfgang Koch complete the love triangle, both
> matching her in intensity, and pouring out plenty of both voice AND
> drama.  Following Luigi’s murder, Giorgietta doesn’t notice him until the
> entire rear of the stage spins in a 360 degree rotation, his body flopping
> upside down as it reached its place of origin.  They all remain onstage, as
> another funeral takes place, the unhappy couple joining in the procession,
> slowly lumbering toward the rear of the stage as we hear the opening
> strains of Suor Angelica.  No intermission.
> As the crowd clears, we see the young nun, her hair being violently yanked
> and shorn off by one of the older sisters.  Ermonella Jaho gave one of the
> most beautifully sung Angelicas in my long experience with this opera, the
> shading, nuances and complete control of the voice was something to
> behold on every level.  There isn’t a lot of power in the lower range, but
> she used her voice wisely and the top opened up with glorious, beautiful
> tone.  Combined with her acting, it was, as Angelica should always be,
> absolutely heartbreaking  Michaela Schuster was the Aunt and the path of
> a more oppressive, formidable old broad you would not want to cross.
> Jaho’s Angelica is a bit more tomboyish than we usually get, and while a
> sensitive lass, she’s prone towards fits of violence, particularly when
> provoked.  When she throws over some furniture, lunges at her auntie and
> grabs the Princesses’ walking stick you fear for the old woman’s life. I
> was
> thrilled by the moment, but it felt like it belonged more to a struggle
> typical
> of Alexis and Krystal in the old camp drama “Dynasty.”
> I did have another "uh oh" moment when, during the “miracle” you
> couldn’t help but notice her son was strapped within an inch of his life
> to a
> chair as we waited for that rotating stage to take another horrifying spin,
> Exorcist style.   During an intermission interview, it made more sense to
> me as Jaho described that in this production, Angelica dies in horror and
> agony, the vision of her son, not a miracle, but actually a nightmare as
> she
> dies alone.  I kind of liked that, but still prefer "the miracle" Puccini
> intended.
> intended.
> The least intrusive direction came during “Gianni Schicchi” which was
> something of a miracle on its own.  The unit set from the previous operas,
> made perfect foil to the renaissance-inspired costumes and action, making
> the entire thing look like an Old Masters painting come to life.  Ambrogio
> Maestri toned down and dignified a bit his Falstaff presenting Schicchi in
> an
> absolutely delightful impersonation.  Bonus casting came in the guise of
> Pavol Breslik as Rinnucio, who sang the opening performances, but for the
> telecast, fell ill and rendered voiceless.  He went on to mime/act the role
> while one of the company’s newest members, a young Mexican tenor, sang
> from the side.  Breslik looked (as ever) sensational and though I can’t
> know what the effect was like in the house, lip-synched perfectly and over
> the airwaves “sounded” marvelous.
> The ovation (I know that’s a dirty word these days) was immense, and
> lasted long since none of the casts appeared for curtain calls until
> following
> Schicchi.  I’m a Trittico nut, so this was a beautiful Christmas treat for
> me, a
> and I hope the production shows up soon on demand again.
> For anyone interested, production photos, a trailer, and a podcast can be
> viewed by clicking the following link.
> p.
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