dimanche 12 décembre 2010

Geneva's musical amateurism ...

Thomas Hampson was last week in Geneva.

While he is singing at the Zurich Opera, he is touring with the Wurttenberg Philharmonic in one of these typically frustrating recitals made to accomodate star performers. Program was a typical mix of unrehearsed arias, -this was the first concert in the serie and yes, one could hear it in  more than few places - intertwined with basically "Elevator music" classical style ...

Yet Hampson's artistry is special and his renderings of Posa's death in Don Carlos or Renato's 3rd act aria in Ballo was worth having to cope with the rest ... As an encore, Don Giovanni's serenade was outstanding in phrasing, color, breath control, charm, ...

As it is customary, before presenting the encore, Hampson spoke to the audience and expressed surprise to have sung in so many places including Don Giovanni and Marcello as well as many recitals at the Grand Théâtre but never at Victoria Hall.

He is right. Geneva and in particular Victoria Hall lacks good communication to potential audiences. The web site of the hall is full of sloppy mistakes, ..., a clear sign of managerial amateurism  ...

If you go outside of the hall and look at the posters, you would never have guessed that someone like Hampson was singing there and saw ads for flashy low-level provincial-like events. There is no single place where you can buy tickets for all possible events. (and also, should I say, only the OSR and the Grand Theatre have a serious press department with a relation where Concertonet editors review events. All the others have turned down my requests so I will not do a review of the Hampson concert ...)

Until this is fixed which basically mean taking communication with audience seriously, events like Hampson's recital will never been sold out (as I am sure it is in every "normal" city of the stature of a Geneva ...) and many touring musicians who are not coming to Geneva will never come.

mercredi 1 décembre 2010

Peter Hofmann

Concertonet's Zurich Correspondant and long-time friend John Rhodes emailed me this morning on the passing of German tenor Peter Hofmann.

I heard him first in Paris in 1981 a concert performance of the act 3 of Parsifal with the Berlin Philharmonic and Karajan, then as Lohengrin, then the following year in Paris in Lohengrin under Dohnanyi. But it was in Bayreuth that I heard him in many roles: Parsifal in 83, Tristan in 87 and a final Siegmund in 89.

What was unique in his performances was the sheer physicality of his performances best captured in the DVD of the Boulez-Chéreau Ring:

In the Götz Friedrich's production of Parsifal, he really caught the spear. No wires, no funny games, ..., this was thrilling.

Händel at the Mall ...

Courtesy of Eileen.