Monday, 29 August 2011

Bayreuth 2012

Preview Festival-Season 2012
With a performance of Tristan und Isolde the Bayreuth Festival 2012 ends today on August 28.
For a total of 57,750 tickets more than 320,000 ticket applications were received, with applicants coming from about 80 different countries.

The 2012 edition of the Festival will open with the premiere of Der fliegende Holländer on July 25. The new production will be realised by Jan Philipp Gloger (Director), Christof Hetzer (Stage Designer), Karin Jud (Costume Designer), Urs Schönebaum (Light Designer) and Sophie Becker (Dramaturgy), who all work for the Bayreuth Festival for the first time. Christian Thielemann will conduct. Russian baritone Evgeny Nikitin will sing the title role, making his Bayreuth debut. Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, who already portrayed Sieglinde at the Festival in 2006/2007, will be seen as Senta. Further roles will be sung by Franz-Josef Selig (Daland), Michael König (Erik) and Benjamin Bruns (Der Steuermann), who all make their Bayreuth debut.

On August 5, 2012 the Stefan Herheim production Parsifal will be recorded. The conductor of the production will be Swiss born Philippe Jordan.The programme 2012, which runs through August 28, also includes: Tristan und Isolde, production by Christoph Marthaler, conducted by Peter Schneider, Lohengrin, production by Hans Neuenfels, conducted by Andris Nelsons, as well as this year’s new production Tannhäuser by Sebastian Baumgarten, again conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock

Bayreuth goes digital...

For the Bayreuth Festival Season 2012 there will be some novelties in our ticket sale: For the first time tickets can be applied for online. At applicants can register starting September 15, 2011. First time applicants can register her. Repeat orders can also be placed in the system: Our customers receive a personal access code with their annual ticket order form which takes into account their application and ticket history. Application via post is, of course, also possible. In addition, it will also be possible to pay for the ticket invoice by credit card.

2011 - isn't it amazing!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Jonas cancel Japan, but NOT Stockholm!

"Dear Friends,

I regret very much having to tell you that I will unfortunately not be able to sing the performances of Carmen for you next month. I was so looking forward to coming to Japan now and I want to assure everyone that this decision has nothing do with the difficult issues you have had to face in Japan in these last months.

The fact is that I need to have an operation to remove a node in my thoracic area. I do not wish anyone to become alarmed reading this, but my physicians have ordered me to have the surgery as soon as possible. This will take place after my appearance in Stockholm on September 2.

I am pretty sure that the results of the histological examination will come up "benign" but as I said, this procedure could not be further delayed.I am extremely sorry I must cancel my trip to Japan and thus disappoint many friends. From my previous appearances in Japan, I have the most lovely memories of the audience there as especially enthusiastic, knowledgeable and kind. I have always regarded the great affection lavished on me there as an exceptional honor.

I therefore hope for the understanding of those of you who empathize with my situation, or who may even have been in a similar position themselves, and I hope to come to you as soon as possible in the future.

With warm regards,

Jonas Kaufmann"

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Mozart. The Magic Flute. Lucerne Festival in Summer.

Mozart: The Magic Flute

Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Daniel Harding conductor

Arnold Schoenberg chorus

Alastair Miles Sarastro

Andrew Staples Tamino

Kate Royal Pamina

Albina Shagimuratova Queen of the night

Neal Davis Papageno

Mari Eriksmoen Papagena

Martina Jankova First Lady

Wilke Te Brummelstroete second lady

Kismara pessatti third lady

Stephen Gadd first preast

Alexander Grove First armed man

Vuyani Mlinde second armed man

Mark Le Brocq Monastos

Christopher Widauer narrator and puppeteer

Mozarts most famous opera about overcoming darkness and the search for love.

Tamina the daughter of the queen of the night has been taken by the evil sarastro and Tamino saves her by overcoming the unconscious. The opera has many referances to egypthian mythology and freemasonry. This version with narrative by Andrew Staples is very amousing with jokes about facebook and with a puppeteer acting as Mozart with humorus comments on the story. The performance was a semi-stage concert. There is no opera house in Lucerne at the moment but in a few years there will be. When you entered the auditorium you heard sounds of rain and thunder. The lights went down and the orchestra entered in silence as the narrator began speaking. Images of cosmos was shown on the white walls as the overture started. Very effectfull. The singers were as always very good and some of them even friends of Daniel on facebook. Neal Davis was wonderful as papageno with a good average voice but not the best papageno in the world. Mari Erkismoen as papagena on the other hand was delightful. Driving a permobil humming the chicken dance when in disguise in the second act got many laughs including from Andrew Staples. Concert perfomances of operas can be quite boring but not in this case. There was a great deal of interaction and with the narrative it realy worked.

All though the last projection images of a man beeing tortured by water boarding is not suitable with Mozarts music. Kate Royal is wonderful as Pamina with a crystal clear german she realy did a wonderful job. Last time we heard Kate was in Berlin last year with Mahlers second symphony. Albina Shagmiruatova is wonderful as her mother who wants her daughter to commit murder and the high notes of the famous aria are sang with no trouble at all. Alastair Miles as sarastro was good but not very demanding in his character.

Very dramatic. The arnold shoenberg choir has sang in Lucerne before both with Daniel and of course with Claudio. Who sat in the audience. Harding is a great lover of opera and he knows how to bring a score to life. He seemed to hold back a little unlike other concerts where he realy looks fierce and demanding on the podium. But this is an orchestra he knows very well as does his mentor Claudio who founded the orchestra. In the end it was worth attending and a great way to end our stay in Lucerne.

Lucerne Festival Summer. Symphony concert 6.

Lucerne Festival Orchestra
Claudio Abbado conductor
Christine Schäfer soprano
Mozart arias: Misera la colomba. Ah non son Io che parlo. Ah lo previdi.
Ah, tinvola. Vorrei spiegarvi, oh dio.
Bruckner symphony nr 5

We arrived yesterday at the final concert of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Claudio Abbado.
Sold out of course, and a rain of flowers from the abbadiani fan club as always.
Christine Schäfers voice is wonderful for Mozart and very delicate. She has a voice of average quality but not a voice product. She sang arias of lost love and departure and abandonment.
Very common themes in opera and symphonic music. She has great articulation and breathing.
It was a performance in the art of singing in many ways. One of the better singers Claudio has brought to Lucerne besides Anna Larsson and Elina Garanca. After the break Bruckners fifth symphony was performed even better than fridays concert. I love this orchestra. And now we have to wait another year for until we see them again in Lucerne. The program for next year includes the finaly of Claudios Mahlers cycle. The monumental symphony of a thousand. Nr 8.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Mozart and Bruckner.

Lucerne Festival Orchestra
Claudio Abbado conductor

Mozart: symphony nr 35 Haffner.
Bruckner: Symphony nr 5.

Mozarts symphony nr 35 was the first symphony he wrote in Vienna. In 1776 Mozart was asked to write a serenade for the wedding celebrations of Marie Elisabeth Haffner, daughter of the late Sigmund Haffner who had been a good friend to Leopold, Mozarts father. It made a lasting impression on the family and they wanted more. Elisabeths son Sigmund Haffner jr, was to be awarded a noble title in the summer of 1782 and they asked Leopold to ask his son for more music. Mozart was very busy at the time and was not able to finish the music on time. It was sent to Salzburg in multiple installments. The family was so pleased with the symphony to which Mozart replied: "I am delighted that the symphony is to your taste".

Claudio has recently recorded several of Mozarts symphonys including the Haffner with Orchestra Mozart on Archive productions. Highly recommended. In the hands of Claudio and the festival orchestra it was just pure perfection. The freshness and the joy of this symphony was amazing. A very youthful interpretation.

Bruckners fifth symphony is very much like building a palace of notes. A structure some people might find boring and endless. This is the only symphony that has a slow introduction which can be heard again in the last movement. The austrians were not kind to Bruckner. People mocked him on the streets of Vienna for his poor clothing. He was a great admirer of Wagner and Stenhammar. His use of horns is a trademark. You can hear it in every symphony. Claudio is a conductor who listens to music from a chamber music perspective and some people think it is to elegant but pay no attention to that. With yesterdays performance he delivered so much power from his orchestra that you could feel the music in your body. Claudio is able to find just the right sound. From the slow pizzicato in the beginning to the grand finale with sonatas and fuges everything falls in to place. At the rehearsal earlier this week it was amazing to see him talk with the musicians at such a personal level. They know what he wants.

After tonight the orchestra will go on tour for Paris, Baden-Baden and London in october.

6/10 Baden- Baden Festpielhaus.

8/10 Paris, Salle Pleyel

9-11/10 Southbank centre London

Friday, 19 August 2011

West eastern Divan orchestra. Beethoven rock and roll.

West eastern Divan Orchestra

Daniel Barenboim conductor

Beethoven symphony nr 6. Pastoral. and Symphony nr 5.

Beethoven rock and roll is the only way to describe it. This was an evening of classical music on the highest level. Everyone knows who Beethoven is and his symphonies are standard in every orchestra. In 1999 Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim formed this orchestra with members from both Palestine, Israel and other Arab countries. Young players from hostile countries who are now thanks to Barenboim great friends. This proves that music can achieve great things. And yesterday was no exception. On a very hot evening the audience in the KKL could cool off to the pastoral symphony in the first act. A symphonic saga of peasents harvesting in the country and sailors battling a storm full of thunder and lightning. But ending in happiness and joy.

The fifth was composed under turmoil for Beethoven. He started to write it in 1804 but put it aside and wrote the third symphony plus his only opera Fidelio. His deafness was increased and the wars of Napoleon was on his doorstep. The symphony was first heard together with the sixth on 22 of december 1808. That concert was over four hours long. Including other works by Beethoven. His fourth piano concerto and his choral fantasy.

Barenboim is a very good conductor and a wonderful piano player. Read our Vienna report.

He is known as a military style conductor and this concert proved it. He waved his baton infront of the players faces a lot and used it more as a sword than a baton. He fenced his way through the evening but created musical magic. The sixth was a bit slow in the first movement but gradualy got faster. The storm was energetic and forcefull as you never heard it before. The last movement was pure warmth and elegance. The fifth was just rock and roll. No question about it.

Beethoven is the master.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Dress rehearsal. Mozart and Bruckner.

Classicalify went to the dress rehearsal for the concerts of Mozart and Bruckner. The concert will be broadcasted on german radio DRS2 28/8 2011 21:00. The rehearsal was magnificant. Christine Schäfer will sing arias by Mozart on saturday and it sounded very good today. More detailed review of the concerts after the weekend.

Pollin Perspectives. Works by Manzoni and Beethoven.

Maurizio Pollini piano
Anna Prohaska sopran
Christoph Desjardins viola
Alain Damiens Klarinette
Daniel Ciampolini schlagzeug

Giacomo Manzoni
Il rumore del tempo. "The Noise of Time". commission for Maurizio Pollini and Lucerne Festival.

Sonate F-dur
Sonate f-moll Appassionata

Giacomo Manzoni work "the noise of time" combines the forces of shooting star Anna Prohaska and piano veteran Maurizio Pollini in a very good combination. Manzonis piece uses poems from russian symbolist Khlebnikov, austrian expressionist Georg Trakl and Andrea Zanzotto. Three different texts performed to perfection by miss Prohaska. "Manzonis choice of texts reveals not only that he is well-rounded and artistically multifaceted but also that he is a composer who is less intrested in the prestige of his technique than in personal worlds of experience." A few lines from the program booklet. Classicalify can only agree. Great poems to put to music. Modern music can be hard to understand and this was quite hard to understand in a way. Especially on a premiere of a work that has never been heard before. It started with a slow duo for soprano and viola with widely spaced vocal phrasing and ended with the piano in a sonic irritation. An intressting piece but it was to short. The composer got his applause and that was that. After the break the real concert began. The piano sonatas performed yesterday evening is an extension of Beethovens personality. And with Pollini it was just pure magic.
The famous Waldstein is an homage to a longstanding champion of the composer. "A heroic symphony for piano" as one critic said. The sonata is connected to Beethovens third symphony and even the fifth which was on his mind at the time. Sonata in F minor is the least known of Beethovens works. The player is required to have great virtuosity and fingering. This and more Pollini delivered beyond any doubt. It was an evening of pure poetry. With this music Beethoven changed the publics expectations of what could be accomplished within it forever. If Beethoven was still alive and in Lucerne yesterday evening. Would he had approved of Pollinis interpretations?. Who knows.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Lucerne Festival. Chamber music 2.

Chamber music concert nr 2.

Soloists from Lucerne Festival Orchestra.

Kolja Blacher violin

Wolfram Christ viola

Alois Posch contrabase

Jens Peter Maintz and Rafael RosenfeldViolincello

Vassily Lobanov Piano and celesta
Raymond Curfs, Dirk Wucherpfennig and Mark Haeldermans percussion

Schubert Five german trios and coda for string quartett.

Schönberg Transfigured night

Schostakowitsch sypmhony nr 15 for strings klavier, celesta, piano, drums, xylophone and timpani.

Classicalify can only think of one reason why these amazing soloists can create such a magical evening of chamber music and even a symphony in chamber version. They are all friends. And they play with Claudio Abbado. Schubert composed his work of five german trios at the age of sixteen. A wonderful set of trios performed like a dance by the soloists. They listen to each other and with just a quick glance they know exactly what to do. Schostakowitsch is very different from Schubert. In this very complex piece he uses themes from Wagner and Rossini. After the introduction the cellist suddenly starts to play a few notes of Rossinis Wilhelm Tell. As a joke or to make the audience laugh?. He made me smile and a few laughs from the audience of course.

The composer wrote the symphony with his left hand as he suddenly had become paralyzed.

It can be viewed as an absurd comment to his life in his final days. Schönbergs transfigured night ended the magical evening with the audience clapping for an encore but alas sadly not.

This was certainly chamber music at the highest level. A full moon outside the KKL is the perfect setting as Schönberg himself wrote the piece with moonlight in mind.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Lucerne Festival orchestra brass ensemble. Chamber Music.

Lucerne Festival Orchestra brass ensemble

Lutz Köhler conductor

Mussorgsky: A night on the bald mountain

Songs and dances of death. arranged for brass ensemble by Steven Verhaert.

Pictures on an exhibition

Chamber music is something very special and what better way to experience chamber music than in Lucerne. Every year members of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra performes chamber music of the highest quality in Lucerne. The brass ensemble performs every year and this year it was russian composer Modest Mussorgsky on the programe. A classic program of the composers most famous works arranged for brass ensemble. The concert meister of the ensemble is Reinhold Friedrich. What better way than to start the first act of the concert with a night on the bald mountain. A fantastic piece about a witches sabbath on a mountain at midnight. Under the baton of Lutz Köhler the piece realy came alive. A black mass to please the devil is realy suitable for the festivals theme of night. The next piece was a premiere of an arrangement for brass ensemble by brass player Steven Verhaert. Songs and dances of death is realy a poetic piece about a mothers anxietes over her ailing child. A wonderful arrangement that was performed to excellence by the ensemble. After the break the famous pictures on an exhibition is often performed by symphony orchestras but works very well with brass ensembles as well. It starts with a promenade around paintings and ends at the great square of Kiev. A classic among the orchestral repetoare. And with an ensemble like this classicalify feels overjoyed.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Lucerne Festival. Summer. Symphony concert nr 4.

Les Talent Lyriques

Christophe Rousset conductor

Veronique Gens soprano

Gluck: Iphigenie en Tauride. Recital and Aria.

Etienne Nicolas Mehul: Stratonice Overture.

Ariodant. Melodram, Recital and aria.

Salieri: Les Danadies. Overture.
Francois Joseph Grossec: Thesee, recital and aria.
Rudolphe Kreutzer: Astianax. recital and aria.
Hector Berlioz: Les Troyens arias and monolog.
Luigi Cherubini: Medee ouvertyre.
Guiseppe Verdi: Don Carlos Elizabeths scene. Toi qui sus le neant des grandeurs.

A wonderful program and a great orchestra and a soprano that has been named "queen of baroque arias". What could go wrong??. Nothing?. Wrong. The soprano could be wrong.
Before we start the reasons why classicalify loved the orchestra under the french conductor Christophe Rousset. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this festival is that you can hear music that either you never heard before or know very well. In this case never heard before. Apart from Berlioz and Verdi. Rousset has the music in his blood and knows every aspect of the music. The orchestra knows exactly what to do and so far no problem. Veronique Gens sings all the right notes and she is known for this repetoar according to the text in the program. But why is it not working in the first half of the concert?. For one thing she does not convince me as an actress who tells me a story from start to finish about feelings of guilt and murder and other dilemmas. The audience responded with applause of generous support in the first act but a few members of the audience were not impressed. Classicalify included. After the break more and more it was obvious that the interpretation of the soprano was not correct. She is perhaps more comfortable on an opera stage in full costume. Classicalify would love to hear miss Gens again but not like this. She can do better. But alas this was her only concert in Lucerne.

Lucerne Festival in Summer 2011. Symphony concert 3.

Lucerne Festival Orchestra
Radu Lupu piano
Claudio Abbado conductor
Johannes Brahms piano concerto nr 1 in d-major
Richard Wagner Lohengrin prelude
Gustav Mahler Adagio from symphony nr 10

Classicalify has once again packed the bags and traveled to the small Swiss town of Lucerne and Lucerne Festival in summer. The Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Claudio Abbado the main reason we go. Helene Grimaud was originaly announced as soloist but just a few months before the festival started the festivals facebook group posted a statement that due to "artistic differences" Helene Grimaud and Claudio Abbado has desided not to cooperate in Brahms first piano concerto. Radu Lupu will play instead. We can only wonder about the real cause. Radu Lupu was a welcomed choice. He is one of the few soloists who puts the music first and lets his hands float over the keyboard. But with strong integrity. The piano concerto is in three movements and was composed by Brahms when he was only 25. He had lost his friend Robert Schumann and the first movement describes the feeling of shock and despair. The whole concerto also has another influence. Beethovens third piano concerto and Mozarts piano concerto nr 20. This concerto has many technical difficulties but that is no match for this de luxe orchestra with well experienced chamber players who know their conductor very well.
They communicate with eyes. One look says it all. Intermission followed and a glas of champagne is standard. Afterwords the prelude from Lohengrin came and went (it was beautiful). But to short. Then without delay Mahlers famous last adagio from his unfinished symphony nr 10. If there is anything that this orchestra does like no other it is Mahler.
And Claudio knows Mahler inside out. Everything was perfect. Afterwords the same ritual of applaus that happens every year. It is magical. More reviews to follow on other concerts.