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Bayersiches Staatsoper’s underwhelming new manufacturing of Pique Dame in Munich – Seen and Heard Worldwide

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GermanyGermany Tchaikovsky, Pique Dame: Soloists, Choir and Orchestra des Bayerisches Staatsoper / Aziz Shokhakimov (conductor), Nationaltheater, Munich, 9.2.2024. (ALL)

Brandon Jovanovich (Hermann) and Asmik Grigorian (Lisa) © W. Hösl

Manufacturing ­­– Benedict Andrews
Set designer – Rufus Didwiszus
Costume designer – Victoria Behr
Lighting designer – Jon Clark
Choreography – Klevis Elmazaj
Dramaturgy – Olaf Roth
Refrain grasp – Christoph Heil

Hermann – Brandon Jovanovich
Depend Tomsky – Roman Burdenko
Yeletsky – Boris Pinkhasovich
Chekalinsky – David Alegret
Surin – Bálint Szabó
Chaplitsky – Kevin Conners
Grasp of Ceremonies – Aleksey Kurzanov
Countess – Violeta Urmana
Lisa – Asmik Grigorian
Polina – Victoria Karkacheva
Governess – Natalie Lewis
Masha – Daria Proszek
Narumov – Nikita Volkov
Boy-Commander – Amalia Steinmetzer

After Benedict Andrews’s insightful manufacturing of Così fan tutte (overview right here) final 12 months, expectations have been excessive for this new staging of Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame with a powerful forged. Nonetheless, this minimalist manufacturing turned out to be surprisingly underwhelming.

The stage is dimly lit, shrouded in smoke, and sparsely furnished, set in trendy environment. Costumes, which usually serve to spotlight the social variations amongst characters, are uniformly gray and darkish. Every scene begins with a large-scale close-up video, predominantly that includes Lisa, sometimes Hermann, and finally a triumphant and assertive Countess.

Bayersiches Staatsoper’s Pique Dame © W. Hösl

Settings are arbitrary with characters singing and dancing on high of vehicles and even worse, refrain and singers sitting on benches and hardly shifting in the course of the crowd scene. Regrettably, there’s little to no Personenregie, leading to a scarcity of character improvement. The one notable idea emerges on the conclusion, the place the refrain, all dressed identically to the Countess, symbolises Hermann’s descent into insanity. Nonetheless, this concept arrives too late within the efficiency to salvage the manufacturing.

This disappointment is compounded by the truth that, other than one performer, the forged is powerful. Brandon Jovanovich’s portrayal of Hermann fell quick, regardless of his familiarity with the position which he sang underneath Mariss Janssons in Salzburg. Whereas he improved within the third act, he struggled with the tessitura and phrasing earlier within the efficiency.

All eyes have been on Asmik Grigorian. She didn’t upset with real stage presence and dramatic depth significantly within the final duet with Hermann, most likely the spotlight of the opera. However one couldn’t really feel that this manufacturing robbed her of what may have been a really nice efficiency.

As all the time, Yeletsky stole the present along with his Act II aria splendidly sang by Boris Pinkhasovich. Victoria Karkacheva’s Polina had golden tones and nice phrasing. Violetta Urmana made a whole lot of the position of the Countess. Smaller roles – since we’re in Munich in any case – have been excellent and well-cast.

Beneath Aziz Shokhakimov’s route, the orchestra carried out effectively, although sometimes too loudly. The refrain delivered a robust efficiency.

Given these circumstances, one would possibly query whether or not such a piece could be higher suited to a live performance efficiency. I’ve had this expertise thrice, and every was unforgettable. One memorable event was with a famend conductor whose identify I don’t even wish to write as his legacy is without end tarnished by his affiliation with Putin. One other was final 12 months in Berlin underneath Kirill Petrenko. Nonetheless, probably the most memorable was 33 years in the past on the Symphony Corridor in Boston, that includes beloved artists similar to Mirella Freni, Maureen Forrester, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, with Vladimir Atlantov as Hermann. The orchestra was distinctive, underneath the baton of Seiji Ozawa, whose latest passing has been a profound loss to the music world.

Antoine Lévy-Leboyer

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