Gran Teatre del Liceu, 20 February 2010
A week has passed since Tristan in Barcelona and truth to be told, I can't get it out of my mind.
Back in December I was raving about Sebastian Weigle and his "Tote Stadt" in Frankfurt. I had used the words "pure operatic bliss" to describe what I had felt back then and had written for Weigle "the protagonist was with no doubt Sebastian Weigle and the Frankfurter Opern-und Museumsorchester whose perfect, overwhelming, splendid, awesome (somebody stop me, please) sound sent me to an intergalactic trip for more than 2 hours".
Same applies for this Tristan, Weigle was an experience to listen to, and the orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, was in fantastic form as well. Lorin Maazel will always be my fav conductor but Weigle has already a very special place in my heart. (Next chance to hear Weigle: Parsifal in Frankfurt, starting March 7th, check his agenda for more details).
This old production of Thor Steigraber that comes to Barcelona from Los Angeles features as its main attraction David Hockney's colorful sets and costumes. They may seem awkward in the pics but they were quite impressive in the theatre, especially the Act II set, with it's fairy-tale-like castle and its perspective.
Deborah Voigt was a wonderful Isolde (if you think that Voigt is finished, well, you'd better reconsider). Her voice might have changed and she might have lost some vocal (and not only vocal) weight, but her's was a vibrant, credible Isolde who overcame all difficulties in the partitura and got to the Liebestod with enough powers to make us all weep (as a matter of fact, I was sobbing during the last few minutes, and I truly thank opera-god for still being able to experience this kind of extreme feelings in the theatre).
Listen to Deborah Voigt in Liebestod
(no, I really didn't listen nor I cared for the last note-the "lust").
Peter Seiffert was a good Tristan but by Act III sounded exhausted. Nevertheless he did manage to rule over the huge orchestra when needed and was quite good dramatically (in a rather not challenging mise-en-scene).
Korean bass Kwangchul Youn was an elegant, imposing King Marke but it was Micaela Schuster that impressed me the most: what a fine Brangäne, what a beautiful, velvety voice. Her interventions during the Act II Tristan-Isolde duet were heart-breaking. Bo Skovhus made quite an impression too as Kurwenal, kudos also to Norbert Ernst as Melot, Francisco Vas as the Shepherd and Manel Esteve Madrid as Steurmann.
Special mention for the audience that on that night was a disgrace. Only a few seconds in the overture, a LOUD cell-phone rang, obliging maestro Weigle to start da cappo, while especially during Act II the audience didn't, not even for a second, stop coughing.
Extra special mention for the Gran Teatre del Liceu that ran out of printed programmes...
Listen to the first few minutes of the overture and the cell-phone ringing (they should hang this kind of people from a light post at Las Ramblas)
And a video + pics from the curtain calls
Micaela Schuster about to catch her flying bouquet
Debbie and her little friend signing
The post from where they should hang people with cell-phones