Sunday, 7 December 2014

Fidelio live from La Scala Milan Barenboim

Eagerly awaiting live broadcast of Beethoven Fidelio from la Scala Milan... My Full REVIEW IS HERE.Klaus Florian Vogt, Anja Kempe, Peter Mattei, Falk Struckmann, Kwangchul Youn and of course Daniel Barenboim

EXCEPTIONAL performance!  Electrtifying, vivid, alert. Fantastic ensemble work, executed with such precision and conviction. Wonderful singing and playing. If this doesn't get onto DVD/CD it would be a loss to civilization. The sound quality on BR klassik was crystal clear, adding hugely to immediacy of the performance. Illegal uploads already on the usual channels but nowhere like the professionalism of BR klassik.

Some people don't like Fidelio, much in the way some do not like Zauberflõte. but Barenboim shows how the First Act of Fidelio connects to other German music theatre traditions of the time and shortly thereafter. Each sequence is neatly defined, building up to a unified whole, as strong in its own way as the action-packed second act.  Klaus Florian Vogt is perfect - nice, warm sounding and "human" which is so important to the meaning of the work. After the pounding, malevolent introduction to Act 2 his voice enters "How dark it is in here".  Simple words, but Vogt's voice expresses wonder and horror so great that you can feel the physical presence of the darkness and the magnitude of Florestan's imprisonment. Then, when he sings "Angel, Leonore, my angel"  you can visualize the apparition rising before him: a miracle has happened.  Anja Kempe's wonderfully wild and athletic; ideal for the part. Leonore is a heroine who defies convention, yet is a real woman not a goddess, nor an ideological reconstruct of a man. Have there been many like her in the arts since Greek times?

A particularly good set of ensemble pieces, where everyone is firing together and interacting. .Florian Hoffmann and Mojca Erdmann turn Jacquino and Marzelline into strong figures. The trio with Kwangchul Youn's Rocco is superb. What a wonderful set of gentlemen (and baddies) with Kwangchul Youn, Falk Struckmann's Don Pizarro, Peter Mattei's Don Fernando,  A trio of Wagnerian proportions, another insight on the part of whoever cast this production. and the choruses, together to a man, drilled to almost military discipline. There's hope when the proletariat sticks together !

And what playing Barenboim gets from the Teatro alla Scala orchestra!  Tension, intensity and ecstatic release racheted up so high that I had to hold my breath or burst, emotionally. The audience must have felt the same way, exploding with bravi! as if their hearts could hold out no more.  So much for the silly notion that instant applause is bad.These bravi were heartfelt and much more genuine than the fake silences after performances that are now in fashion. One of the most horrible perfomances I've ever heard  was followed by a long, pretentious silence, an inept conductor striving for effect. Sincerity is what counts, not what other people think.  This must have been one of the finest moments in Barenboim's conducting career, when everything came together perfectly. His heart must have been bursting too. Applause absolutely deserved.

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