Skip to main content

Parsifal at the ENO

I must have missed it when Nikolaus Lehnhoff's Parsifal was staged in 1999. Well I was very glad to have seen it on the first night this time round - for it was a very good production and performance. Mark Wigglesworth took the overture at the right pace - just enough solemnity and poignancy without making it overbearing. The first half of act one was always the tricky one - relatively long dialogues and Sir John Tomlinson's presence was essential in keeping the whole thing moving. The transformation music was great (though the brass could have been bigger) and the chorus was on form.

Jane Dutton's Kundry really shone through in act two - with clarity, urgency and sufficient degree of other-worldly quality. This was matched by Stuart Skelton's Parsifal - who gradually lost his innocence culminating in the showdown with Klinsor (Tom Fox). The stage set for the act three was a bit wierd with a half completed rail track into the barren "garden". Still, the trio of Tomlinson, Dutton and Skelton was absolutely superb. Yes it was a long opera but it was captivating and well worth the post-Parsifal numb bum.


Popular posts from this blog

Porgy and Bess, English National Opera

I quite forgot the first number in Porgy and Bess is Summertime! Beautifully sung by Nicole Cabell as Bess. On a whole, the chorus number was better sung than the solo numbers - where the diction was generally inadequate. The set (Michael Yeargan) was three-dimensional and worked really well with the many scenes in this work. John Wilson was in his elements in the pit and the orchestra responded with a rhythmic boisterous sound - the best part of the evening.

Les Huguenots, Opéra Bastille

I don't know why so few Meyerbeer operas are staged in London. In order to see his grandest grand opera, I traveled to Paris to see Les Huguenots staged at Opéra Bastille.

The star of the show was Lisette Oropesa who sang Marguerite de Valois - she got the warm yet regal tone for the role, her delivery of the emotions was fantastic. Yosep Kang, a late replacement for Bryan Hymel, was passable. His rendition of Raoul de Nangis could do with a few more rehearsals. And his voice strained a little at the higher register (there was one gasp in the audience when we all thought he was going to crack!) His love interest Valentine, sung by Ermonela Jaho, was good - a more youthful if pensive voice.

The male chorus was a little agricultural in act 1 - untidy and lacking in focus. Luckily, the men were saved by the women (again) when the ladies of the court sang lusciously while frolicking along a real stream.

Where was the BALLET???

The set design had modern lines and shades - a Parisien c…

Hagen Quartet, Wigmore Hall

Yes, the legendary Hagen Quartet playing at the Wigmore Hall.

The Schubert String Quartet in G minor sounded rough, with problematic intonation from the first violin. The whole piece sounded like a play through. Not a good start. The playing of the Webern pieces (Five Movements / Six Bagatelles) could not be more different. They got through the grittiness and bleakness of these concise pieces with precision and poise.

The second half of the concert was Haydn String Quartet in Bb (Op 55 N 3). The playing was warm, coherent with the kind of interplay between the quartet members that one would expect. Good tempi choice. This warmth was naturally conveyed through brilliant acoustic of the hall.