missing Kasarova romeo in munich

please excuse this post. i’m somehow in a complaining mood for the whole 2 nights now… so not so many pictures, just loads of words. you can even ignore everything after the endless praises for Nakamura below…

as you know, i bought several tickets to hear Frau Kasarova sing Romeo here in Munich. Before and since my arrival here, people have asked me if i was sad that my singer is not able to sing. i tried to keep an open mind and appreciate what is available to me. We all heard the premiere, it was very nice, the orchestra was sharp, tempo lively, Romeo emotionally delivered by Erraught, Giulietta breath-takingly delivered by Eri Nakamura, it’s bel canto, i was looking forward to it.

many things are easier said than done. This includes having impartial ears when you know what _your_ singer are capable of delivering in term of emotion. it also includes resisting the temptation to “compare” new performances to what you have set as standard. i’d say for the most part, i’m able to do that. when a character is delivered convincingly by any singer, i enjoy the experience and appreciate greatly the effort.

So, to cut to the point, i left yesterday’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi at the Bayerische Staatsoper with impressed mixed in with highly frustrating feelings. Let’s first focus on the best thing of the night: Eri Nakamura. When she sang, i forgot to breath. all emotions are laid out note by note. all phrasings have their purpose. She sang very often without the orchestra so you get totally un-disruptive emotional rides. Normally i skip the first scene of Act II when the soprano whines and drags, but even on my poor mp3 capture i found myself continuously going back to that (and scene 3 & 4 of Act I) just to listen to her. Hearing live, she was even more impressive. The voice is rich and expressive. You don’t need to care for her movements (I didn’t notice) because everything you need is already expressed in the voice. If you saw the production trailer, then you would have seen the ridiculous thing they made her do climbing up a sink-like thing and standing at the edge on 1 leg while singing “O qualte volte”. I was very glad on this night, she only briefly posed in this crazy form, then stood back on 2 legs to sing the aria. i don’t care at all for such stunts, not at the expense of her beautiful delivery. just simply exquisite. Also, her high notes are very beautiful, not forced, unlike the mp3 capture which i heard loads of ringing. I’m soo much looking forward to hear her again. soooo looking forward.

Back to the rest, as I mentioned before in Rene Jacobs’ Tancredi post, in these bel canto works by Bellini and Rossini, I listen much more to the orchestra and the chorus. To me, a “perfect” (for my ears) Romeo with uninspiring orchestra and chorus and headache inducing Giulietta is not a performance i go back to often. That is to say it’s a whole package, i don’t exclusively listen to Romeo. If that’s the case I’d go to my singer’s recital instead of the whole opera. which is why i somehow felt bothered last night. On the premiere night, the orchestra was very lively (not sure about sharp), playing full of energy. I already heard on the radio broadcast the chorus a little bit muddled and was hoping in the live performance they’d be more clear. On this night, the overture left me already quite uninspired. In my limited language: they’re not sharp, they were going through the motions, there was not enough contrast. The tempo was dragging majorly. As my friend (who attends the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks weekly) put it: they sound too blend, everything moving together. The chorus: they sound like they can’t speak Italian and are afraid to sing. Everything is smeared, like when you take off your glasses while looking at a dot. Friend’s take: you should listen to the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks (or something like that, my german is not good enough to catch everything she said), they’re much better. And since the opera starts with the overture followed by the opening chorus, i felt the energy was squeezed out of me and that it would be a trying night.

As for Romeo, let me be honest: I MISS Frau Kasarova VERY MUCH. I wasn’t sure what to tell people prior to this performance. I don’t know how Romeo was sung several nights ago, but this night I don’t feel connected at all to this Romeo. All the notes were there but not necessarily the emotion. Friend’s take: “I don’t feel this Romeo. I really feel the torn in Giulietta, but not in the other singer.” I left the opernhaus with a gap as big as a meteorite crater. don’t know why i was irritated, and might it be the same had Romeo been emotionally charged but Giulietta not well delivered? who knows. As was, i felt quite empty in feeling, this inability to connect. Which brings me to the point of missing deeply Frau K: I don’t really know what to expect from her, but i’m sure i would not be left out cold like this. This clip is not helping since she showed me the exact emotion I missed in last night performance, wooooah .

So, while i’m on complaining mode (which i dislike very much, it’s as if I pay the money therefore I feel entitled to complain 😦 ), but let’s talk about tempo and staging ideas! I think tempo should be set with specific purposes in mind. Several of us commenting on the swift conducting on opening night. I think it would suite very well with this Romeo. When you have slow tempo with the right singer who is able to communicate the emotion and capture the audience’ attention (think Salzburg 2003’s Sesto or this Scherza Infida), it works to perfection. When not able to, the whole thing drags. that’s what it felt like to me, major dragging every time Giulietta is not involved. dragging, on one of my favorite operas, can you believe i’d say such thing?? arrggh.

Onto the staging. Romeo and Giulietta are avoiding each other like avoiding leprosy! They are allowed to touch 3 or 4 times in the entire opera. It got more and more obvious in the tomb scene. If my lover is dying, i’d be all over hugging her in panic may be? can’t imagine i’d be standing behind / in front singing like i don’t dare to touch. When Romeo sings the final lines of “talk to me, i can’t see you anymore, etc”, she’s walking away from Giulietta. Then Romeo died, and Giulietta slowly walking behind and catching up just when she died. That’s when they finally touch as they continue their walk. Conceptually, this might work when carried out as envisioned (by whomever). On this night, they were already avoiding touching during the duet, it just made it that much harder for me to see the point.

argh, please excuse me. i was just simply frustrated. hic. hopefully things will be different on Wednesday…


About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

7 Responses to missing Kasarova romeo in munich

  1. Eyesometric says:

    Honest thoughts and feelings honestly written. Many people would think and feel exactly the same so no need to excuse anything. Better luck for the next performances! Viva Кasarova 🙂

  2. thả diều says:

    thanks Eyes, after airing that out, i seem to be in better mood, surely waking up at 5pm helps 🙂 will let you know how it goes tomorrow. they’re still listing VK as singer for the 9th…

  3. suspa says:

    o just saw VK won’t sing at all…poor An..hope things get better for you…see you tomorrow

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