Friday, June 28, 2013

First Review (and some audio): "Il Trovatore" bei den Münchner Opernfestspielen

Well, I managed to hear most of the premiere performance of Verdi’s Il Trovatore from the Bayrische Staatsoper yesterday (even though: (a) my iPhone died mid-way through the second half; and (b) my boss kept expecting me to be productive). And someone already managed to post a clip (see below).

Bayrische Radio’s reviewer Annika Täuschel notes that Trovatore is full of well-known melodies (at least that’s my translation. The German is ohrwurm-trächtigste; and Google translates that as catchy-gious. Maybe we could say “the most earworm-filled.”) That certainly makes sense, as every other aria, trio, duet, or chorus sounds achingly familiar. And I kept thinking, “Aha! So that’s where that came from!”
Enrico Caruso’s oft-quoted or paraphrased comment about Trovatore is it’s easy to stage; all you need is  the four greatest singers in the world. I agree with Frau Täuschel, that they got three out of four last night at the Bayrische Staatsoper. I am not sure baritone Alexey Markov rated no mention at all in the review, but he certainly was less solid sounding, and not up to the standards of the other three principals. 

Singling out Anja Harteros and Jonas Kaufmann is a no brainer, as few would argue that they are fine artists with fine voices (unless you simply don’t like them.) Russian mezzo Elena Manistina (below) is a new name to me. When she started out, she sounded a little…well, elderly. But she warmed up for a stunning performance, particularly in Acts 3 and 4. Tauschel calls her voice rich and strong, and I heartily agree. I also was pleased and surprised with the “stylish and colorful” flexibility the Bavarian State Orchestra under Maestro Paolo Carignani, following the singers closely with “accelerandi, rubati, and tempo changes.”

Apparently director Olivier Py noticed that logic is not a strong suit of Trovatore’s plot line, so he stages it as a dream. And from what I’ve read, heard (mostly all in German), and seen (above) there is a lot happening on stage to underscore the plot. Of course we couldn't hear that in the radio broadcast, so we have to wait for more reviews, and to see it next Friday

I was trying to gauge the audience reaction to the staging. Some scene endings were greeted with only a smattering of applause. The greatest responses were for the singers themselves; and in those, I could tell the audience was more than pleased.  With the fine music making I heard yesterday afternoon, I am really looking forward to the webcast next week

Frau Täuschel's full review is here on the BR website. If you listen to it, you get the bonus of audio samples of last night's performance! (The file starts playing right away.)

And here is that YT Clip (Audio Only):

P.S. I found two English translations to follow yesterday. One contains the Italian plus an archaic English singing translation; the other is much more contemporary, in English only.
Images from the Bayrische Staatsoper by Wilfried Hösl.


  1. Hehe, earworms! (Must find way to use "orhwurm-trächtigste" in conversation soon)

    This sounds like something really worth seeing - I will have to try to catch the rebroadcast on the 5th!

    1. I am going to, also. I am supposed to work, but maybe I can "work" from home that day. if not, I am sure the pirates will have it available very soon.


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