Sunday, 31 August 2014
Roaring our heads off
...for these two, Nina Stemme and Donald Runnicles (which also means the Deutsche Oper Berlin orchestra), in a shatteringly great Proms Salome. No need to add much to the rave over on The Arts Desk but I wanted to include a few more of Chris Christodoulou's photos, which arrived as usual punktlich not long after I got back from the Albert Hall last night.
The above came from him after I'd asked for a landscape of Nina, preferably with Donald, to lead. Before he fired them back, I'd already cropped the money shot, and unless he objects don't want to replace it. Hence the second home. There were also others I couldn't use over there. Doris Soffel, having made little impression on us as the Countess in the Zurich Queen of Spades, really had a ball with Herodias, and Runnicles let her hold on to her top A at 'schweigen!' for what seemed like an infinity. Here she is with Stemme.
I mentioned the shame about the slight dependence on scores and music stands from most of the men - Samuel Youn's Jokanaan honourably excepted - but this shows that character tenor Burkhard Ulrich wasn't beyond acting it out as Herod.
Cheers, too, for the Narraboth, Belgian Thomas Blondelle
and Ronnita Miller from St Petersburg, Florida, now a Deutsche Oper principal, as a lustrous 'Page'.
It was a company show, no doubt about it: what a team Runnicles has in Berlin. But ultimately it had to be Nina's night. Doesn't she look, in relaxed mode, like our own intense non-singing (as far as I know) actress Olivia Colman?
Oh, and if you're curious to know who the boors were behind us, shouting 'sit down!' when I rose unhesitatingly to my feet after the shield-crushing, I'll go so far as to say that the only one of them I recognised - and they were all obnoxious in their self-expression before the invisible curtain rose - was a distinguished and, by all accounts, Mensch-like singer who must have welcomed a few standing ovations himself in his time. Shame on them.
1/10 As outlined in a comment below, this was everything the following (last) night's Elektra was not. Ed Seckerson expresses everything I felt in his review for The Arts Desk, not least so eloquently nailing the problem of Christine Goerke's upper register. And he's also right to say that Felicity Palmer's Clytemnestra was the star of the evening. What's the caption here? 'Yes, I'm still better than you, my girl, even at 70'?
Even so, in an ideal dramatic world, Clytemnestra shouldn't be either so old or so visibly raddled. After all, she's the mother of a 20 year old girl, and her decay is inner. Which is why you'll never see a better portrayal than Waltraud Meier's in the great Patrice Chereau's last stand. In fact this is one of the most riveting opera DVDs ever made, and Evelyn Herlitzius - slight of frame, searing of voice - IS Elektra as far as I'm concerned. For some reason my BBC Music Mag five-star review isn't up on the erratic website, but need I say more here? Don't waste time on the iPlayer broadcast of the Prom; buy the DVD.