Posts Tagged ‘Dmytro Popov’

Candidate Nelsons?

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Cast and conductor for Rusalka in Munich in June 2017

Published: June 16, 2017

MUNICH — An odd thing happened during the curtain calls last evening after a taut, riveting Rusalka here at Bavarian State Opera. The orchestra players made various signs of approval for the cast members’ work, as is customary, and then essentially none for the conductor (and leading lady’s husband). Their coolness was the more noteworthy given that Andris Nelsons was making his company debut. Cheers from the house reflected the strength of the performance.

Why would this be? Nelsons is im Gespräch for Kirill Petrenko’s job, and perhaps the players aren’t ready to have their future mapped out so soon after the Berlin Philharmonic’s poaching of their GMD. Petrenko has, after all, lifted them artistically from the twenty-year trough that was SchneiderMehtaNagano. Besides, his exit will grind along in slomo, with the vacancy not opening until Sept. 2020 and a substantial guest-conducting presence for him through the season that starts that month.

Then there is the irksome whiff of pre-planning. In 2015 the Boston Symphony Orchestra oddly replaced its two-year-old agreement with the Latvian maestro with a partly retroactive one for 2014–2022. An “evergreen” clause in this continues its effect for a defined period unless it is canceled within a stated time, ipso facto picturing such notice. Months after signing it, Nelsons moved with his daughter and wife, compatriot Kristine Opolais, the Rusalka star, to Munich’s Bogenhausen district, within walking distance of BStO, Germany’s largest opera company. (It was in opera that Nelsons launched his career, in Riga.) At the same time, he accepted a second orchestra job, with a Feb. 2018 start, in Leipzig, just three hours north of here by train.

At least one listener went to the performance not expecting revelations from the newly resident conductor. Tomáš Hanus had presented Dvořák’s score so lyrically and so urgently at the 2010 premiere of Martin Kušej’s wayward staging — which not incidentally propelled Opolais to fame, thirty years old and a year into her marriage — as well as on DVD and in seasons following, that it seemed nothing more could be said. But Nelsons remolded it entirely, galvanizing long, long, telling lines that penetrated beyond the frames of the acts and into the musical silence of intermission.

Pictured from the Dvořák cast are: Ulrich Reß, Nelsons, Dmytro Popov (a rich-toned Princ), Opolais (still an endearing Rusalka), Helena Zubanovich (a Ježibaba voiced to peel the silk off the walls), Alyona Abramova, Günther Groissböck (the almighty Vodník) and Nadia Krasteva (the enticing Cizí kněžna); front: Rachael Wilson, Tara Erraught and Evgeniya Sotnikova.

Photo © Bayerische Staatsoper

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Petrenko’s Sharper Boris

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Boris Godunov at Bavarian State Opera

Published: March 19, 2014

MUNICH — Bavarian State Opera’s flag-waving, Putin-skewering production of Boris Godunov had extra resonance in a revival on Sunday afternoon (March 16) as Crimeans engaged in their foregone conclusion of a referendum. Musically, too, all emerged tougher and more urgent than at last year’s premiere.

Kirill Petrenko sharpened the orchestral colors and summoned thrilling, even frightening, contributions from the chorus (trained by Sören Eckhoff), a welcome shift from the norm here. Mussorgsky’s opera found its climax under this conductor in Scene VI, before what should be St Basil’s Cathedral, the Holy Fool (Kevin Conners) intoning sweetly around the people’s acerbic cry for bread: Хлеба, хлеба! Дай голодным хлеба, хлеба!

Anatoli Kotcherga re-graduated from Pimen last February to a title role he owned twenty years ago, his voice undiminished but for some missing support in soft passages, while Ain Anger brought virile ardor to the chronicler. Vladimir Matorin railed and whimpered definitively (again) as a drunken Varlaam. Dmytro Popov introduced a sonorous Grigory, and Gerhard Siegel and Markus Eiche repeated their effective Shuisky and Shchelkalov.

Although lamely led by Kent Nagano, BelAir Classiques’ just-released DVD from the 2013 run preserves Alexander Tsymbalyuk’s magnetic, gloriously sung Boris as well as Matorin’s perfect Varlaam. Stage director Calixto Bieito uses the 1869 score, so seven scenes and no Marina or Rangoni.

Photo © Wilfried Hösl

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