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Thread: Rienzi at Teatro Real

          
   
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  1. #1
    Schigolch
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    Rienzi at Teatro Real

    Conductor Alejo Perez
    ~
    Rienzi - Andreas Schager
    Irene - Anja Kampe
    Colonna - Stephen Milling
    Adriano - Claudia Mahnke
    Orsini - James Rutherford
    Orvieto - Friedermann Röhlig



    This opera, the third opera written by Richard Wagner, is rarely performed. This is due, in my view, to three issues:

    1.- It's very, very, long. Given in its integrity, it could go beyond five hours. There are some cuts that are almost in every performance, like the Second act ballet, but others are more problematic, and there is not a single, well defined, score that can be readily used.

    2.- Wagner himself was not the best propagandist for the piece, when he decided not to perform Rienzi at Bayreuth.

    3.- The fact that it was the favourite opera of Adolf Hitler (it was chosen to inaugurate the Nazi Party Congress at Nuremberg, in 1939, and the original score was destroyed during the taking of Hitler's bunker by Soviet troops in 1945), doesn't help, either.


    However, the music, while not the best ever written by Wagner, is quite good, during most of the opera, with some moments really beautiful, and deserving of a greater exposure. And the plot is not worse than many other operas written during the first half of the 19th century. It's not mature Wagner, rather a mixture of Belcanto and Grand Opéra airs, and some fantastic tunes.

    In the concert version offered in Madrid, there were some 195 minutes of music, well performed under the baton of young Argentinian conductor Alejo Pérez. The orchestra and chorus (reinforced by the Philharmonia Chorus from Vienna) were really satisfactory, with the right tempi and trying to help the soloist singers, not to fight with them.


    German tenor Burkhard Fritz was hired to sing Rienzi, but he canceled and Austrian Andreas Schager replaced him. He started singing well, but he was unable to sustain the voice, and despite of Mr. Pérez's taking special care, he was overpowered by the orchestra, especially in the top notes, but at least was able to offer a moving rendition of his great aria of the Fifth act. Anja Kampe is a notoriously irregular performer, but yesterday was, fortunately, in good shape, though her tendency to shout was sometimes out of control. The best singer was Claudia Mahnke, in the trouser role of Adriano, that was really great, and was given a deserved ovation. The other roles were adequate.

    A nice evening, listening a (undeservedly) neglected opera.

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  4. #3
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    I did like it a lot in the existing abridged blu-ray, which is the only form of it I've had contact with.
    My impression was also that it was half bel canto, half grand opéra and not the best Wagner, but still a Wagner, which means better than most.
    There is the famous joke, saying that Meyerbeer's best Grand Opéra is Wagner's Rienzi.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  5. #4
    Schigolch
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    Meyerbeer wrote some great Grand Opéra of his own.

    This Rienzi, however, is very enjoyable.

    The most famous aria, Allmächt'ger Vater, sung by Rienzi towards the end of the opera, performed by the great tenor Franz Völker:


  6. #5
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    I know only 5 of Meyerbeer's opera, but to tell you the truth, while all have good moments, the only one I *really* like is Dinorah (the other four I know are Les Huguenots, L'Africaine, Le Prophète, and Il Crociato in Egitto (the latter is my second favorite). Do you especially recommend any other?

    Maybe one of the reasons I've never warmed up too much to Meyerbeer is that I'm really passionate about Berlioz, and their rivalry got to me, since I feel Berlioz's music is so much better!
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  7. #6
    Schigolch
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    The only significant one left out in your list is of course Robert le Diable.

  8. #7
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    How do you rank these six (the five I know plus Robert le Diable) in terms of quality?
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  9. #8
    Schigolch
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    Very high, the six are really good.

  10. #9
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    I meant, first to sixth in your order of preference. Just curious.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  11. #10
    Schigolch
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    1.- Les Huguenots
    2.- Robert le Diable
    3.- L'Africaine
    4.- Il Crociatto in Egitto
    5.- Le Prophète
    6.- Dinorah

  12. #11
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schigolch View Post
    1.- Les Huguenots
    2.- Robert le Diable
    3.- L'Africaine
    4.- Il Crociatto in Egitto
    5.- Le Prophète
    6.- Dinorah
    Oh wow, the one I like the most is the one you like the least!
    Les Huguenots *is* considered his top one, but I don't know if it was because my only contact with it was from a very stuffy and boring production with Joan Sutherland, I didn't really like it. Maybe I should give it another chance with a more modern production.

    Robert Le Diable, since it is your second favorite, is now a priority for me, I actually own it but it's on my UWP. Funny, it's been purchased a good while ago and I had even forgotten that I had it.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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