Saturday, 16 June 2012

Berlin-Dresden-Berlin May 2012

Classicalify has been very busy lately and not very active on the blog which we do apologise for.
But here is an update on the many events in Germany of last month.


Our trip to Berlin started on may 11th for two concerts with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic. Claudio is a great favorite of ours at classicalify.
Every year Claudios concerts with his old orchestra are sold out well in advance and now even with a change of program for the better. We will write more about that later.

The program consisted of works by Alban Berg and Robert Schumann.
Schumanns overture to Genova gave the concert a grand opening for the finale of the evening, the second symphony. Alban Bergs alte lieder performed by Anne Sofie von Otter was spellbounding and von Otter is much suited for lieder now days than opera. Her voice still has that silky tone which she is well known for. The only bad sign of her act was her choice of wardrobe. White jeans and a flower tunic. No comments. Isabell Faust finished the first act with a very grand performance of Bergs violin concerto. Miss Faust has recently made a recording of the violin concerto with Orchestra Mozart and maestro Abbado. Highly recommended. She is a virtuos player with great style and created an atmosphere of just pure magic in the air. Alban Bergs music can be very heavy but it's full of mysteri. After the break one of the best symphonys by Schumann followed. A marvelous symphony and in the hands of Claudio Abbado it was pure joy. He looked very happy afterwords.
As usual on every concert with Claudio a nice standing ovation on both concerts. Don't miss next year in Berlin when Claudio conducts Mendelssohn and Berlioz.

Our first stop on the second tour of Germany was the city of Dresden and a concert with the new music director of the staatskapelle Christian Thielemann. Dresden is very proud to promote Thielemanns name as you can see on the picture above.

The concert consisted of one major symphonic work. Anton Bruckners symphony nr 8.
The concert took place in the semper opera house. A beautiful opera house with a sad history.
Built in 1841 by Gottfried Semper and almost destroyed in 1869 by fire and rebuilt again partly by Semper in 1871. During world war two the opera house was destroyed during the last months of the war in 1945. It wasn't until 1985 the opera's reconstruction was completed. Sadly a flood from the nearby river Elbe in 2002 caused heavy water damage but thanks to helpful investments it re-opened the same year. The perfomance of the eight symphony was very nice. Thielemann knows Bruckner very well and together with his new orchestra it was a sublime perfomance. Bruckners admiration for Wagner is very noticable with a huge horn section and a few wagner horns as well. The second movements wonderful horn play was pure bliss. The adagio was  just amazing and the dramatic finale with it's powerful beginning was the best performance of the eight symphony you could ask for.

Back to Berlin and for a perfomance of Verdis "Simon Boccanegra" at the Schiller Theater.
Unfortunatly the staatsoper is still closed for reconstruction. Newspapers in Berlin reported that huge wooden poles has been found underneath the opera house and further delayed the opening of the house. Daniel Barenboim is furious. The old house will open in 2014 at the latest.

Placido Domingo sang the title role and Barenboim conducted. Anja Harteros sang Maria.

A very traditional performance set in the period of the 14th century. Directed by Federico Tiezzi.



Domingo was just amazing as the troubled Doge who must uphold his public duty while coping with private burdens of loss and his filial duty. Barenboim got a few boos from the audience after the break but classicalify gave shouts of bravo. A wonderful evening at the beautiful Schiller Teater. Let's pray that's staatsoper will open very soon.

Our stay in Berlin ended with a concert in Philharmonie of Richards Wagners opera "Die Walküre".
Sir Simon Rattle conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker and among the cast was Terje Stensvold as Wotan and superstar Ewa Maria Westbroek as Siegliend with Christian Elsner as Siegmund and Evelyn Herlitzius as Brünnhilde. A wonderful set of singers apart from Elsner who stood on his toes to achieve the high notes and lack of acting. Westbroek on the other hand gave it all and Stensvold is amazing. His voice is as fresh as ever. Berliner philharmoniker is just the best orchestra in the world and Sir Simon Rattle is one the best conductors of our time. The Berlin Philharmonic will soon go on a tour so check the website as soon possible. They might play in a city near you.

As I wrote earlier about change of program. If you have any plans to hear the Lucerne Festival Orchestra with Claudio Abbado conducting we assume you thought Mahlers eight symphony is on the program. Unfortunatly it's been changed. Claudio doesn't have a very good relationship with this grand symphony all though he has recorded the symphony in Berlin many years ago he hasn't cared very much for the piece. The reason is he wants to find new ideas and the score doesn't say very much for him. How ever the Swedish Radio choir will still be there and perform the requiem by Mozart instead and Beethovens Egmont drama. Tickets are still availble.

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