Friday, 6 April 2012

Thielemann Rising

This deserves a mockery spot in Die Fackel

And on the third day Christian Thielemann conducted Parsifal and all was put right with contemporary Wagner performance as the Wiener Staatsoper once again proved its INDISPUTABLE OPERATIC DOMINANCE. Christine Mielitz’s production returned last night and will be back on Easter Sunday and the 12th with Falk Struckmann, Kwangchul Youn, Simon O’Neill and Angela Denoke. Also am Ring this month: a Stemme/Garanča Rosenkavalier, a Furlanetto Boris, a Meier Santuzza, Konwitschny’s Don Carlos, and Gruberova in recital.

Olivier Py directs the Theater an der Wien’s Hamlet, which points to a Gerald and Birkin duel and Horatio torn over exactly whose nice bit of rough he’s supposed to be, and who knows, that just may prove sufficiently distracting from Marc Minkowski’s conducting and the crappiness of the opera. Potential vocal highlight: Christine Schäfer’s Ophélie.

The honours for this month’s most out-there concert programme go, unusually, to the Musikverein: the 12th sees the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester perform the Vorspiel/Liebestod (with Iréne Theorin), Webern’s Sechs Orchesterstücke, Zimmermann’s Photoptosis, and Scriabin’s Poème d’Extase. The conductor originally responsible for this craziness was Ingo Metzmacher, who is ill, meaning that David Afkham’s Musikverein debut is brought a month forward. There is another GMJO concert on the 11th (Immolation at Leningrad, hmm). Afkham is the assistant conductor for this GMJO tour but deserves props for leaving both programmes unchanged, and I’m looking forward to seeing him for the first time.

Also on at the Musikverein: a repeat of Anna Prohaska’s well-received recent Wigmore Hall programme, La Mer with Patrick Lange and the RSO Wien (I’m avoiding), God again Thielemann and the Phil (all-Schumann concert), the BRSO with Nelsons and Grimaud, a Renée Fleming Liederabend, and a (commercial) bel canto evening with Vesselina Kasarova and Krassimira Stoyanova. A Rainer Küchl solo spot in the Thielemann concert was enough to put me off, but I should also mention it’s sold out anyway. For all this and a few other things I’ve haven’t listed see here.

At the Konzerthaus: more commercial bel canto, this time with Rolando Villazón; the Wiener Philharmoniker and Antonio Pappano with Haydn’s Philosopher, a Jörg Widmann commission and Brahms 4 (repeated at the Musikverein); the Quatuor Ebène with a great programme of the Capriccio sextet, Chaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence and Verklärte Nacht; an all-Schubert Gerhaher Liederabend; and (hopefully) banishing all thoughts of Schlockmaninov, Cornelius Meister and Elisabeth Leonskaja with the RSO Wien (second piano concerto and Martinu’s fourth symphony). Dates and details here.

It was warming to see a recent Googler find his/her way to this blog with the search term ‘contemporary music Vienna April’ and I am pleased to be able to thrill and amaze! At the Konzerthaus on the 13th there is a birthday concert in honour of grand old man of the Viennese contemporary music scene, Lothar Knessl, on his 85th (programme: Haubenstock-Ramati, GF Haas, Feldman, Kagel; sadly I have a subscription ticket for Pappano and the Phil that night). And in the Berio Saal on the 18th, Mark Padmore sings his Larcher cycle and Henze’s Sechs Gesänge aus dem Arabischen (pre-concert event at 19:00: Till Fellner in conversation with Thomas Larcher). Over at the Musikverein, the Ensemble Kontrapunkte perform Eröd, Sterk and Schwertsik on the 16th. The Austrian National Library hosts its Musiksalon series of three concerts in the spring and while there’s no theme this year, Upper Austrian composer Helmut Schmidinger gets a portrait concert on the 11th. The ensemble LUX (reviewed here) is back at the Alte Schmiede on the 20th with Webern, Nono, Reinhard Fuchs and Thomas Wally, and on the 13th at the same place an event in the not-making-this-up category: cover versions of rock songs and Wienerlieder presented by Gilbert Handler (vocal, electronics), Alexandra Sommerfeld (vocals, readings), Gunther Rabl (sound alchemy) and, ahem, Hugo the singing robot. For details of these and more Schmiede events see here.

Not complaining, but for no particular reason this is Verklärte Nacht Month. (That last link should be for the Ebènes, which means, yes, three times in three days).

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