Saturday, December 6, 2008

Day 3: Werther: Elina Garanča stops the traffic at Maximilianstrasse! UPDATED!!!!


I left my seat and headed to the foyers of the Bayerische Staatsoper with that feeling of frustration I had when as a child, my parents present under the Christmas Tree was not what I had expected. Not that it was bad, but definitely not what I had in mind. Not the christmas present, I'm talking about the opera. I couldn't take it out of my mind.
I had a glass of chardonnay and got back to my seat.


I don't know what happened during the interval but what I know is that the second part of the performance blew my mind. Was it the wine? I don't really think so. What had started off like a mediocre uninspired performance, with Elina Garanca and Massimo Giordano looking totally bored on staged and singing like if they were having a prima-vista of the score, gradually became a powerful, shivering, explosive night to remember, with the two artists (+ Natale de Carolis as Albert) making my heart beat really loud.

The production by Jürgen Rose is beautiful. Some touch of kitschy-ness every now and then but it worked very well for me. The whole (white vast) stage covered by writings and words that you always have in mind when thinking of Werther (Réve! Extase! Bonheur! or ô souffle du printemps), at the background a big tree, and at the center of the stage a big rock with a desk on it...The poet's island. Worst part of the production: the Nativity Scene at the finale with the children singing "Noël Noël Noël" dressed as little Virgin Mary(s), Joseph(s) etc. That wasn't though enough for me to take my eyes off dying Werther and Charlotte.

The covered with writings curtain


Massimo Giordano is not a widely cherished tenor and instead has been the target of criticism by blogs and press. Sure, he's no Kraus, (there's no Kraus in our days, get over it) but he's no Marcelo Álvarez or Piotr Beczala either (my favourite Werthers for the time being, ok Rolando as well). What he is, is a great singer, with an italianate sound, that sometimes has some accuracy problems,or high notes that sound "fabbricate" and who despite his flaws, delivers a heart breaking portrayal of Werther.

*** UPDATE ***

By a friend of Massimo Giordano:

While he (Massimo Giordano) was giving autographs somebody took away and obviously stole an envelope with important documents, which he had put down for having his hands free for signing. When he wanted to take it back, it wasn’t there anymore. Mr. Giordano has reported this to the theatre and also to the police. It is incredible and very embarrassing that something like this could happen among the opera fans at the backstage door in Munich. If anybody has seen this happening or knows about it, please get in touch here. ANY INFORMATION WILL BE APPRECIATED!



Massimo Giordano

Elina Garanca

Elina Garanca was the center of everyone's attention. As I already said, in the first two acts she demonstrated what "latvian cold" means. Good singing, beauty of tone but not enough for my Charlotte. The Act 1 duet with Werther, "Il faut nous séparer", instead of being a showstopper and instead of closing Act 1 with the audience raving, was lacking sparkle and left the audience gelido, like Mimi's hand. Same thing with the Air des lettres at the beginning of Act 3. She didn't even get an applause for that. But that seemed to be her waking-up point. The dramatic "Va! Laisse couler mes larmes" that follows was exquisitely sung and from that point on, our Charlotte became a real, dramatic character and the show took off.


Natale de Carolis was a convincing Albert but we 'll just have to face the fact that this is a very "ungrateful" part, same for Sophie, sung by Elena Tsallagova.


Once again, the Orchestra of the Bayerische Staatsoper under the majestic direction of Bertrand de Billy gave a great performance (some minor problems of the wind instruments I would rather disregard).


After the show, at the Artists' Exit, there was a biiiiig crowd waiting to greet the singers. Of all 3 nights at the Artists' Exit, that was for sure the most crowded one. People holding photos of La Garanca, cd's, programs, dvd's and waiting patiently in freezing cold. Elina, Massimo and Natale (without La Frittoli) came out together to deal with the frenzied fans. I really felt pity for Elina, she was treated awfully by the fans who blocked her way out of the building obliging her to sign every photo - there were hundreds- and who were sticking cameras in front of her, flashing at her face with or without her will (nobody bothered to ask). After more than 20 minutes she finally escaped and rushed to the silver SUV that was waiting for her, but even then they wouldn't let her get into the car. I found the whole thing very disrespectful towards a young artist of her calibre and a human being. Of course I shot some pics, but without flash and from a distance. And I also found out that I should probably buy a new camera or just hold it steadier the next time...

Bertrand de Billy

Elina signing autograph #32.455, still 13,556 left and she's free

Massimo Giordano, awed by the number of people waiting for him

-Elina Garanca singing Va! Laisse couler mes larmes,
Munich 28 November 2008


-A video of the production with Marcelo as Werther


11 comments:

operanuts said...

Exactly my impressions, Parsi. Saw it on Wednesday. I thought it was the new red dress EG was wearing after intermission. I'd wished for a little more pep and less pop from MG, though.

Juan said...

Now you've got my first comment

maria teresa said...

¿ Me lo parece a mí o sólo te salen borrosas las fotos de Elina? Con Massimo no te ocurre, je,je. Muy buena crónica, no puedo decir más puesto que no la he visto.
¿Habrá más?

Parsifal said...

Mas? Mas cronicas???? noooo....solo pude ver 3 funciones (en 4 dias, y ademas La Boheme con la Netre y Roli, sobre la que si q va a haber un post). Pero si el "mas" significa mas fotos/audios etc, pues....si q tengo una grabacion completa para cada una de las 3 operas q vi...

Anonymous said...

Beautifully sung, "Va, laisser couler...". I usually enjoy Elina very much and it sounds that her voice carries quite well! And the recording is excellent. If you have the complete performance... ;-) and were willing to share.

Just out of curiosity, do you enjoy Philippe Jaroussky?

Parsifal said...

Yes, i really like Jaroussky!

Always willing to share...

viktoria said...

I was at the WERTHER performance too and also at the backstage door afterwards. Mr. Giordano didn't say ANYTHING like having been a desaster. And there was NO reason to do so. He gave a very interesting portrait of Werther's difficult personality.

Felipe Cunha said...

Thanks! :-)

I forgot to sign, but it was me, Felipe, who asked about Jaroussky. He's coming to Rio next week for a French melodies recital. Let's wait and see!

Thanks again, Parsi!

Felipe

Parsifal said...

Victoria, I don't know what you heard and at what point but I wouldn't have mentioned it if I hadn't heard it...

Felipe, you ll find the recording at your inbox.

Adriana said...

Coming into this blog by accident, I want to refer back to the performance of „Werther“ with Massimo Giordano in Munich. Here exists obviously a misunderstanding. Being a personal friend of Mr. Giordano I know what happened and want to put this right: What Mr. Giordano called a „disaster“ and what upset him, was of course not his performance on stage, but the fact that while he was giving autographs somebody took away and obviously stole an enevelope with important documents, which he had put down for having his hands free for signing. When he wanted to take it back, it wasn’t there anymore. Mr. Giordano has reported this to the theatre and also to the police. It is incredible and very embarrassing that something like this could happen among the opera fans at the backstage door in Munich. If anybody has seen this happening or knows about it, please get in touch here. ANY INFORMATION WILL BE APPRECIATED!

Parsifal said...

This is totally absurd! Who could have done such a thing? I will update my post this afternoon and insert a request for any kind of info regarding this sad event.