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FULL Behind the Scenes Opera Gala Baden-Baden 2007 Netrebko Garanca Vargas Tezier

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  • Video Recording from: YouTube     FULL VIDEO

In the middle of the summer festival crowds between the major festivals in Bayreuth and Salzburg, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden is also looking for its place in the media sun this year. While Bayreuth is mainly busy with a lot of murmuring and wrangling about the succession on the Green Hill and while in Salzburg the festival is thematically oriented for the first time to trace the “night side of reason”, Baden-Baden is counting on a concentrated array of stars. As a variation of the “Three Tenors” model, four different voice types were brought together here, which made sense in the interest of program design.

The “dream couple” Netrebko / Villazón was announced in a musical partnership with Elina Garanca and Ludovic Tézier: “The Baden-Baden Gala” is the name of the project, which is expected to attract international attention. Announced at short notice in February, the tickets for 3 evenings (around seven and a half thousand at least) are said to have gone like hot cakes within a few hours. Of course, the media bit too: ZDF broadcasts, SWR broadcasts, the yellow label produces CDs and DVDs. Commercial success seems assured – vital for the Baden-Baden temple of the muses. Director Mölich-Zebhauser tried to allay concerns that this was the sole purpose of the exercise.

However, one had to live with a small drop of melancholy in the champagne of anticipation when Rolando Villazón had to cancel due to illness a few days before the first concert. Ramón Vargas could be won in his place, who was ready to get off his holiday plane and join the concert program.

The event was able to start in front of a backdrop suitable for TV – futuristic-looking wall elements that were illuminated in different colours. The SWR Symphony Orchestra was won as the accompanying orchestra, which seemed somewhat unusual in this setting. Otherwise it plays Bruckner, Mahler or Bartok in the same place. The conductor of the evening, Marco Armiliato, also described it as an excellent opera orchestra, thus getting to the heart of the true quality of this incredibly flexible and versatile orchestra, which never focuses on external show effects but always concentrates on the essence of the music. So it introduced the Norma overture in the required serious tone, aired with light Italianitá, lively and in cultivated brass colors.

Then the arias and duets lined up like a string of pearls and the golden throats shone in the purest bel canto. Elina Garanca, who could still be considered an insider tip three years ago when she first appeared in Baden-Baden as Adalgisa alongside Edita Gruberova, has meanwhile grown to international fame. In two solo pieces she captivated with flawless technique (coloraturas in the Cenerentola aria), a completely rounded, saturated tone that flows evenly and warmly in all registers, but also with feeling (Dalila aria) and great personal charisma. In a duet with Anna Netrebko (Adalgisa and Norma from “Norma”, Act 2 and Mallika/Lakmé from Delibe’s “Lakmé”), her light-timbred mezzo blended ideally with Netrebko’s slightly amber-colored soprano.

Anna Netrebko only treated her audience to an official solo part of the program that evening, but it was quite a challenge: “Casta diva” from Norma turned out to be the most perfect beautiful song for her: in gently swinging legato, with subtly designed dynamics and in elegant phrasing up to the finely carved cadence, she created a convincing form for this prayer of the druid priestess. For this, she was also celebrated frenetically by the audience, but she canceled her second aria announced in the program (“La Wally”) after the break, for inexplicable reasons… In return, in the encore from Lehár’s “Giuditta” (“My Lips , they kiss so hot”) all restraint fell and twirled dancing, bewitching musicians and conductors alike across the stage.

Ramón Vargas also sang in a duet with Netrebko. The end of the first picture from “La Bohéme” was actually celebrated as a scenic exit. Only in the fading “Amor” the synchronicity of the voices wobbled by nuances. Vargas has quite gentle vocal colors and proved to be a subtle designer of lyrical feelings in the Nemorino romance “Una furtiva lagrima”. He also used his enormous reserves without having to press for an effective “Amor” final emphasis. In the Rodolfo aria from Verdi’s “Luisa Miller” he demonstrated the necessary attack in the recitative and a soft lyrical line in the aria section. He performed twice in a duet with Ludovic Tézier, where both singers complemented each other in a balanced manner (“Don Carlos” and “Perlenfischer”).

Ludovic Tézier is a lyrical baritone with an easily responsive voice, soft tones and even lines. In terms of expressive coloring, however, his palette seems a bit narrow, which was particularly noticeable in his encore, the torero song from “Carmen”. In his two solo program contributions (Don Carlos and Riccardo from “I Puritani”), however, he proved to be a singer with powerful intonation and a love of characterization.

The final point was the drinking song from “La Traviata” sung by the quartet, before the hall overflowed with boiling enthusiasm.

Quoted from Online Musik Magazin

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