WEBER: Der Freischutz
WEINBERG: The Prisoner
This site recently mentioned a remarkable performance of r Der Freischütz from the 1954 Sakzburg Festival conducted by Wilhellm Furtwängler (REVIEW).Now we have a contemporary performance of equal stature recorded early this year in Dresden. Christian Thielemann conducts the Dreaden State Chorus ancOrchestra.. You may not recognize the cast, but all are superb as actors as well as singers. The impressive staging is by Axel Köhler, who offers us a truly harrowing Wolf Glen scene. This is a magnificent presentation of Weber's masterpiece unlikely to be surpassed.
The Metropolitan Opera surely has had their share of ill-advised—and sometimes downright awful—productions including Hansel and Gretela tasteless Tosca, their Las Vegas Rigoletto (REVIEW), Prince Igor (REVIEW), and their incredibly expensiveRing. (each opera reviewed individually on this site).Here we have a winner, their new production of Macbeth, directed by Gary Halvorson. The story has been updated a bit as have the costumes, and it all fits together nicely. The singing throughout is first-class, particularly Zeljko Lucicin the title role. Anna Netrebko contiunues to amaze as she assumes heavier roles and is a perfect Lady Macbeth and the wide range of the role is no problem for her—and her acting is great therater. This was a Met HD productio. We have the complete telecast along with special features. video and audio are superbg. This is a near definitive Macbeth, a feast for all.
Mieczyslaw Weinberg's opera The Passenger is based on a radio play by (Passenger Ship Cabin No. 45) by Zofia Poamysz. It was written 1967-1968 and is heard here in the first fully-staged production, a live performance from the Bregenz Festival 2010. Since that time, it has been perfor,med in a number of opera houses including Houston and the Chicago Lyric. The opera takes place after the Second World War, and the set has two levels, the upper where we see the newly married couple Lisa and Walter. Theupperpart of the set dejpicts the deck of a passenger ship where we find the newly-wed couple Walter and Lisa traveling to Brazil. Lisa thinks she recognizes another passenger as an inmate in Auschwitz where Lisa was a guard. The lower part of the set represents the concentration camp, and the plot conveys the emotions of the prisoner, the guand, and the mysterty passenger. Weinberg's music is effective for this brooding topic representing the somber mood of this tragic story. Thissite has praised a number of recordings of his orchestral music including concertos and symphonies). This performance of the opera is of the highest quality, with stunning video and fine audio. An important issue, indeed!
R.E.B. (December 2015)