Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Un rêve: Jonas Kaufmann and Sophie Koch in Werther

Opéra Bastille, 29 January 2010

What are the reasons that have made both audience and critics rave about the revival of this production of Werther that premiered in 2004 at the ROH? Most of you might have already watched the "ARTE" telecast a week ago. I had to contain myself from watching it knowing that in a few days I would be there experiencing it live and avoided any contact with images/utubes that would spoil the element of surprise.

The production of Benoît Jacquot hardly contains any surprise. The story is not changed a bit (no kiddin!) and Jacquot uses beatiful impressionistic tableaux to recreate the atmosphere of the era (sets and lights by Charles Edwards).

Werther seems to suit Jonas Kaufmann like a glove, both vocally and dramatically. And even if recovering from a cold, there were hardly any signs of it. To be honest, there were so many moments of sheer beauty (not talking about Pourquoi me réveiller only) that the people who interrupted various times to clap -even during the music- leading to an angry plead from a spectator at the upper tiers for them to stop, were totally justified and excused. Equally justified was the screaming and shouting that turned La Bastille into an arena during Kaufmann's curtain call. Talking about m-a-d-n-e-s-s!

Sophie Koch was my favourite for the evening, delivering a classy but desperate, dark but innocent Charlotte, vocally and visually perfect. Her Air des lettres gave me goosebumps but it was "Va! laisse couler mes larmes" that made me burst into tears.
Ecco un' artista (and from now on our "protégée")!

Adding nothing more than perfection to the already perfect couple, Ludovic Tézier was an ideal Albert. Special mention for our Sophie who made us reach for our programmes to find out who that fantastic young lady was: Her name is Anne-Catherine Gillet and you 'd better keep an eye on her!

Maledizione to the elder couple sitting next to me that obviously had the mission to destroy my evening. Both of them moving and changing postures every 15 seconds and using their binoculars every 7 seconds (even when the stage was empty).

As already
mentioned, the curtain calls were triumphant for all members of the casts. I couldn't yell louder my "brava" for Sophie Koch and most possibly Kaufmann's reception is one of the loudest I 've ever witnessed.

Time was pressing, the performance had been delayed, the time was about 11 and we were running late for our reservation at the Cafée des Musées. In a moment of despair we decided to skip the stage-door and not greet Jonas+Sophie. Wise decision as it seems that Peter Gelb who was also present at the performance, wanted to monopolize Kaufmann and made him use an alternative exit.
A couple of bottles of Château de l' Aisine and a fantastic dinner (you just gotta love the échine du porc noir de Bigorre) were the best way to give an end to this memorable night.


M. said...

Merci for this, Parsi.

Fedora said...

Hoy es la última función de Werther. Desde un principio tuve en mi mente asistir a esta función, pero por descuido y trabajo no consegui entrada y no pude planear la escapada a Paris. Con la "pequeña amargura" de saber lo que me he perdido, te doy mil gracias por la genial crónica de esta función. Nos queda el poder ver las grabaciones que circulan ya de la función del pasado 26 de enero. Otra vez gracias por tu reportaje Parsifal.