jeudi 1 septembre 2011

Very quick bullet points on my 2011 Salzbourg stay

My day work has forced me to shorten my stay in Salzburg very significantly. I managed though to pack 4 performances in two days as well as see many friends from across the world and basically had a great time.

For the sake of swiftness, here are my quick takes on bullet point format just like last year:

  • I love my blackberry ... It has something which Iphone afficionados do not have which is push technology (for the Iphone, you have to ask for your mail). So I got a mail informing me of the open rehearsal of the Rossignol/Iolanta open for booking and rushed to get tickets for family and friends. The Rossignol was somewhat tentative but the Iolanta, a one act Tchaikowsky Opera about a blind girl was simply stunning. Strong and varied music and vocal writing of the highest order. Netrebko sang the title role and gave one of her best performance I have had with her. Her tenor partner was P Beczala whom she shared a wonderful duo culminating with a genuine crescendo. There were three bass-barytones roles, each important and each getting a full aria. Of them, Alexey Markov is one to watch out for.
  • After this, I have to confess being somewhat disappointed by the Salonen - Marthaler  "The Makropolous case". A Denoke has vocal chords made of steel and singing was very strong overall. The Orchestra played beautifully, perhaps too beautifully ... but the Marthaler staging did not work as his Katya did. Action was muddy with too many secondary characters disturbing the flow.
  • Think of this, however. A friend told me that the Easter Festival Peter Grimes was far from being sold out whereas there were many "Suche Karte" on display for this more demanding work.
  • Muti delivered his usual magic in the Verdi Requiem performance in the matinee concert. Wait, magic or craft ? Balance, color, rubatos, phrasing ... was present in ample abundance. So much to admire but a little less to experience. Stoyanova had an uneasy start but rose to her usual self, Borodina is impressive, ..., perhaps too much, Pirgu was a little light - is not this work a little too much for him, Abdrazakov was solid ( in the program notes, it was revealed that he is sponsored by the company that manaufactures his suits, no name there but does this really work ?). 
  • Tons of applaudes. Muti knows exactly when to enter the stage a good 10 seconds after his soloists so that everyone can be aware of the specific greetings he gets. Also, when Karajan and Abbado played this work, were not there Austrian silence after this religious work ?
  • I ended my 2 days with a concert by the ORF Radio Orchestra playing Hans Rott's Symphony. Yes, this work has been played in Salzbourg and deserves more hearing. For French readers, my comments on Concertonet.
  • Needless to say, Salzbourg is much more than the music, it is the ability to see so many friends and take leisury time to discuss and enjoy their company. I hope I have more time next year.

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