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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Der Freischutz at the Wiener Staatsoper

    Diacritic mark missing from title to avoid disturbing the URL link

    Der Freischütz
    (The Marksman), Romantic opera with spoken dialogue in three acts and five scenes, sung in German
    Music by Carl Maria von Weber
    Libretto by Friedrich Kind
    Premiered at the Schauspielhaus in Berlin, Germany, on 18 June 1821

    This review is of the performance on June 28, 2018, attended in person at the Wiener Staatsoper in Vienna, Austria

    For more information and tickets, consult www.wiener-staatsoper.at

    This article is part of the Opera Lively coverage of opera houses in the German-speaking area of Central Europe in the Summer of 2018 - see the links to numerous other reviews, interviews, pictorial blogs, and other articles related to this coverage, by clicking [
    here]

    Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper conducted by Tomáš Netopil
    Chor der Wiener Staatsoper

    Stage Director - Opera Lively interviewee Christian Räth
    Set and Costume Design - Gary McCann
    Lighting - Mark McCullough
    Video Projections - Nina Dunn

    Cast

    Agathe - Camilla Nylund
    Ännchen - Daniela Fally was indisposed; Evelin Novak sang this performance, instead
    Kaspar - Alan Held
    Max - Andreas Schager
    Ein Eremit - Albert Dohmen
    Samiel - Hans Peter Kammerer
    Cuno - Clemens Unterreiner

    In all opera literature, few works have been subjected to such extreme and frequent paradigm shifts as Weber’s Der Freischütz. While some considered him the originator of natural folk style, others regarded him as the “most German” of composers (Wagner); while some considered the uncanny to be a central plot element, others felt that fate or even nature, more specifically the forest, truly played the lead role (Pfitzner). Later people said that Weber was a successor to French Revolution opera, or that with his use of folk song he followed after Haydn and Beethoven. Regardless of all these considerations, Der Freischütz – a “Romantic opera” in the widest sense of the term – is a popular and definitive work of the German-language repertoire.

    ------------

    Here is a trailer to the production, so that readers will have a bit of the visuals to see:



    This production has been reviewed mostly negatively in local newspapers (I just checked). Apparently an objection was that the concept, that Max was a composer with a writer's block (thus the numerous tearing up of sheet music, and a piano that catches on fire), wasn't well received, because Weber never had such a block. Christian Räth makes the whole marksman context into the composer's nightmare. A picture of Weber is used as one of the props.

    Frankly, the concept never bothered me. I thought that the production was visually stunning, with interesting imagery, nice costumes, extremely well-done blocking, and the sets were fabulous. The tromp-l'oeil long tunneling view worked very well.

    See here, during curtain calls (Opera Lively picture), what I meant about the tunneling effect:

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    Yes, sure, there were some of the Regie tropes: bloody animal carcasses, huge bird masks... but overall the concept did move along nicely. It is true that the Wolf Glen scene was less impressive than what I was expecting. It basically contained lots of fire and the same large birds that had been showing up before. I'll give a grade of A to the stage direction, A+ to the sets, A+ to the costumes, and A++ to the blocking.

    Musically speaking, the most astonishing part for me was listening live to the Staatsoper orchestra which is basically the Wiener Philharmoniker (the company uses the latter as the resident orchestra; it contractually changes the name but like Mr. Dominique Meyer, then intendant, explained to me in our interview done before the show, it *is* the Philharmoniker). What a beautiful sound! This opera has a very nice overture and the orchestra was magnificent. Again, local purists said that the conductor sounded like he was engaged in a Janacek opera rather than Weber - I suppose that used as they are to German-language operas, they might have a point, but for my less trained ears it all sounded fabulous. A++.

    The two leading roles, Andreas Schager and Camilla Nylund, both did very well, especially Andreas (powerful, booming voice with good timbre and technique). Camilla was very delicate and touching in her arias. A+ for both.

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    Andreas Schager (Max) und Hans Peter Kammerer (Samiel). Copyright: Wiener Staatsoper/ Michael Pöhn

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    Camilla Nylund (Agathe). Copyright: Wiener Staatsoper/ Michael Pöhn

    The newcomer Evelin Novak covering for the role of Ännchen and having her Wiener Staatsoper debut, didn't make me miss the indisposed principal. With a couple of exceptions the comprimarios were all very nice.

    Overall, I liked it. The average of the above scores results in A+, a very nice start to the 16 performances in this trip.

    Stay tunned for the fabulous interview with the Intendant Dominique Meyer - I am very impressed with the Wiener Staatsoper, as expected.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); June 29th, 2018 at 06:13 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  3. #2
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Pictorial Blog

    Some pictures of beautiful Vienna

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    This is not the Wiener Staatsoper's interior, must be one of the other houses

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    Wiener Staatsoper

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    To be continued, more pictures are posted on the other Vienna thread.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); June 30th, 2018 at 06:39 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    The review of the performance has been updated.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Yes, Andreas Schager is superb.

    How was Steirereck?
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); June 30th, 2018 at 06:40 AM.

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Ha ha, I have just coincidentally watched it online and posted my thoughts without knowing you were actually there!!

    There is a link to the online version in my post.
    Natalie

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    Yes, Andreas Schager is superb.

    How was Steirereck?
    Phenomenal. I'll post a review with pictures when I have a moment.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Ha ha, I have just coincidentally watched it online and posted my thoughts without knowing you were actually there!!

    There is a link to the online version in my post.
    Yes, most reviewers were flabbergasted with the very issues you mentioned, but like I said, they didn't bother me, because the sets were so pretty, blocking was very good (everything very theatrical) and the singers so good, not to forget the spectacular orchestra.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Yes, most reviewers were flabbergasted with the very issues you mentioned, but like I said, they didn't bother me, because the sets were so pretty, blocking was very good (everything very theatrical) and the singers so good, not to forget the spectacular orchestra.
    Yes, well, that's why I watched to the end as well!

    Also - forgot to mention Alan Held as Kaspar, interesting interpretation, made him more vulnerable and desperate than dully evil.
    Natalie

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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Yes, well, that's why I watched to the end as well!

    Also - forgot to mention Alan Held as Kaspar, interesting interpretation, made him more vulnerable and desperate than dully evil.

    I have seen Alan Held sing Wotan at Washington National Opera some half dozen times. He doesn’t have the physical stature one envisions in Wotan, but he otherwise is way underrated in the role. Probably would seem too vulnerable a Wotan for some tastes, but sings effortlessly and with great emotion.

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