Call me Russ L

I really feel that I should be able to come up with a Wagner pun for this title, but nothing is coming to mind

Posted in Music, Stage by Russ L on 27 October, 2010

It may have been (approximately) forever and a day ago but it is nevertheless the case that I went to Brum Symphony Hall on the 23rd of September, to see and hear The Philharmonia Orchestra (under Esa-Pekka Salonen) at this production of “Tristan Und Isolde” that everyyoot was/is talking about.

I’ll get the small number of bad things out of the way early: I am a child of my times and not built for anything four-and-a-half hours long, even if you I do get two half hour breaks in the middle; the vaunted Bill Viola backing visuals really weren’t anything special (quite pretty/cool to look at times I suppose, with funky fiery and watery effects, but the imagery was pretty cack-handed); there was some small inconsistency when it came to the physical aspects of the staging – some things were acted out by the soloists, and some weren’t.

With those small things aside, I can happily say “Crikey De Cunha, this was great stuff.”

The staging was magnificent (outside of the tiny complaint above) – obviously it wasn’t quite Birmingham Opera Company in Walk-Among-Us terms but they did use the whole space, with singers and players turning up on the balconies around the room at different times. Given that I was up in the top tier (“the cheap seats” to you), the choir filing behind us and letting rip was spine-tingling, as was the “Shepherd’s Pipe” cor anglais part eerily floating in from somewhere to our left. It worked particularly well in a visual way for the first act, too – Symphony Hall does look a bit ship-like (in a funny sort of way. This may just be me), and that bit is set on a boat.

Our soloists were also all great and conveyed their characters well. I especially liked Violetta Urman as a very earthy Isolde, and Jukka Rasilainen as a stoic-right-up-until-the-point-of-losing it Kurwenal.

I really must actually go and see opera more often.

(Other accounts abound, try here, here, here, here, here, or here).


2 Responses

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  1. Rich Batsford said, on 28 October, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    on the subject if Wagnerian puns, a friend of mine once spotted a notice at his university for a seminar entitled “Penetrating Wagners Ring” ..

  2. Russ L said, on 29 October, 2010 at 7:07 am



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