Monday, 30 April 2012

Classical Vienna im wunderschönen Monat Mai


One of these days I will be sure to relegate the Staatsoper to the bottom of the monthly highlights post and lead with the Elektroakustik goings on about town. I’m just waiting for the right month, which would not be one where I have a cancelling diva to set the ball rolling, namely one ailing Renée Fleming, who called off her Musikverein Liederabend last Wednesday and has now pulled out of the Staatsoper’s upcoming Arabella, replaced by Emily Magee. House Zdenka Genia Kühmeier – who really is something in this role – and house Matteo Michael Schade are joined by (fast becoming) house Mandryka Tomasz Konieczny. Franz Welser-Möst, who got some wonderful sounds out of the pit the last time he conducted this opera, leads the first two performances (6th & 9th), and Stefan Soltesz the last (12th). The Magee replacement has followed the time-honoured Holender principle of ‘who’s already in town singing absurdly strenuous roles?’ which means two Arabellas and two Salomes for her with only two nights off between the 9th and the 14th, hmm. [It took him a while, but Dominique Meyer did good: Salome just became a must-see event with the announcement that Lise Lindstrom will sing the title role.] About that Salome: Ulf Schirmer conducts and the cast is rounded off by Falk Struckmann, Thomas Moser and lebende Legende Dame Gwyneth Jones. Also returning am Ring: Jean-Francois Sivadier’s inch-deep Traviata (Bertrand de Billy, Ermonela Jaho, Francesco Demuro), Christine Mielitz’s Höllander (Graeme Jenkins, Jennifer Wilson, Endrik Wottrich, and house Holländer Albert Dohmen), and Roberto Devereux with Gruberova. There’s another Liederabend at the end of the month (Goerne & Andsnes), and also a premiere: La Clemenza di Tito (director Jürgen Flimm, conductor Louis Langrée, with Schade, Banse, Garanca and the suddenly ubiquitous Chen Reiss). In the first week of the month there are two performances left of Konwitschny’s Don Carlos (1st and 5th) and three of Meier and Seiffert’s Cav/Pag (2nd, 4th, 8th). And in the second of his highfalutin’ Positionslichter talks on the 5th FWM tries once more to convince the Viennese he is a great philosophical mind, or sticks his clunking Upper Austrian foot in his Mund again.

Things are typically quiet over at the Theater an der Wien for much of May as they not only have the annual Festwochen opera to prepare for but also a big Festwochen play or two (this year Simon Stephens’ Three Kingdoms). The opera is of course Deborah Warner’s Traviata, which opens on the 27th. Irina Lungu sings Violetta and Vienna regular Saimir Pirgu Alfredo, Omer Meir Wellber conducts. The strange figures in the image above show Rudy Sabounghi’s costume designs (limp-wristed cross-dressing Alfredo might explain a lot, but I fear the wtf-ery here is of a different nature). About the Festwochen, which starts on the 11th: there will a post in the next few days.

Following their Europakonzert, the Berlin Phil and Dudamel repair to the Musikverein for one concert on the 2nd (Beethoven 5, Also Sprach Zarathrustra). On the 3rd and 4th David Afkham is back in town with the Wiener Symphoniker and Coriolan, the Berg violin concerto (Arabella Steinbacher), and Shostakovich 10. And on the 13th and 14th the Symphoniker are back with the guy who’s still nominally their chief conductor. I thought Fabio Luisi would cancel these concerts, but it turns out he’s quite the Das Buch believer and perhaps just as well, because certain Viennese Heiligtümer you don’t mess with. All my recent Bücher have been with the Arnold Schoenberg Chor and I was looking forward to the massed forces of the Singverein, but sadly can’t make it. I might make their other concert though – they are double-dating with the Philharmoniker and Muti for a programme of Salieri, Haydn and Schubert 8. The Phil have a further two and a half programmes, both with Barenboim, who takes over the Schoenberg violin concerto (with his son) and La Mer from Boulez,  and a few days before conducts Mozart 543/550/551, or if you want some variety Mozart 543 & 551 and Ibert’s flute concerto with Dieter Flury. Barenboim also accompanies a Trebs Liederabend on the 5th, which would be your only chance to see her in Vienna this season had it not sold out aeons ago.

Taking a leaf from his mentor’s book, Cornelius Meister directs a Boulezian programme of Boulanger, Zemlinsky and Schoenberg (Pelleas) on the 8th – I know I just wrote it’s the end of the RSO Wien’s season but that obviously meant season im Konzerthaus. Oh, and it appears the Singverein is juggling all three grand old Viennese mistresses this month. This cannot end well.

Only the three major visiting orchestras this month: the OAE and Ian Bostridge with all-Bach, Bruckner Orchester Linz with DRD and Mozart/Strauss/Haydn, and the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, Nikolaj Znaider and Sir Colin with all-Mozart. Soloists this month besides Netrebko include: Kirchschlager, Buchbinder, JDF (commercial promoter), Mojca Erdmann, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Radu Lupu.

On to the Konzerthaus, though let’s continue with exciting soloists: Ingolf Wunder performs on the 3rd in the Mozart Saal [postponed to 12th November], Hilary Hahn is in the Großen Saal on the 13th, as is Elisabeth Kulman with organist Wolfgang Kogert on the 15th, Murray Perahia on the 22nd, and Diana Damrau on the 28th (commercial promoter). Orchestrally, there’s the Wiener Symphoniker with Ivor Bolton and Simone Dinnerstein on the 8th and 9th (Mozart K 467/Bruckner 5), Norrington and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe with Haydn and Reger arrangements of Schubert Lieder on the 11th and 12th, two programmes from the LSO and Gergiev including the suddenly ubiquitous (in Wien at least) Gautier Capuçon, the long ubiquitous Symphoniker again at the end of the month with Luisi and Joshua Bell (Bruch violin concerto, Mahler 1), and Martin Grubinger und Vater once more with the Camerata Salzburg on the 30th (Martin père has arranged West Side Story this time). In the rarities column there’s Ivor Bolton again, appearing on the 4th with the Mozarteumorchester, Singakademie and a Schubert opera in concert, Alfonso und Estrella. I doubt I can make this but it is highly recommended; the last Schubert opera I heard in Vienna, Adrast (claimed to be a world premiere, with possibly a touch of Hogwash), was great fun even if it all sounded rather a bit like Mendelssohn.

Also on the Konzerthaus this month, lots of chamber music: the Belcea Quartet have a Beethoven quartet marathon on six nights between the 2nd and the 12th; in the ‘Rising Stars’ programme the Tetraktys Quartet perform yet more Beethoven (but also Ginastera and Nikos Stalkottas), confusingly, in the Brahms Saal (promoter is the Konzerthaus though); and an intriguing one-night-only (?) gathering of Lisa Batiashvili, Lawrence Power, Sebastian Klinger and François Leleux on oboe perform Mozart, Schnittke, Britten, and Nicolas Bacri on the 21st (Mozart Saal).

Contemporary music briefly, as this post is getting long. At the Musikverein, the Ensemble Kontrapunkte give their last concert of the season. At the Konzerthaus on the 14th, it’s the Klangforum’s final concert of 2011-12 as well, with some of my favourite Italian modernists (Nono, Sciarrino, Scelsi, Dallapiccola) and which, unfortunately, I can’t make. Emilio Pomàrico conducts. On the 22nd in the same place the Ensemble Resonanz and Peter Rundell perform Mozart, Lachenmann, Manuel Hidalgo and Rolf Wallin. The final of the Berio Saal’s Im Loth series sees pianist Manon-Liu Winter and ensemble deepseafish K perform works by the soloist, Wolfgang Suppan, and Cardew. Having enjoyed the Im Loth series (unblogged, mostly) I may do the unthinkable and skip Cornelius Meister’s Pelleas for this. There’s a fair bit of interest going on the Alte Schmiede this month, as always, but I won’t bother relisting as full details are set out very neatly and only a click away (seriously, do click). And a few Austrian composers who have been devoting their energies lately to the setting of pornographic texts will put their efforts on show at the event ‘Dirty Songs’ in the Volkstheater’s Rote Bar this Wednesday (tickets on the door or under ticket@volkstheater.at). By ‘dirty’ they mean mostly fruity language from the Volksmund, which tends to involve very little between lame and pathologically disturbing, because Haneke has to get his inspiration from somewhere.

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