Magazine article Gramophone


Magazine article Gramophone


Article excerpt

Wagner [DVD] [BR]

Das Liebesverbot

Christopher Maltman bar        Friedrich
Peter Lodahl ten                   Luzio
Ilker Arcayurekfen               Claudio
David Alegret ten                Antonio
David Jerusalem bass              Angelo
Manuela Uhl sop                 Isabella
Maria Miro sop                   Mariana
Ante Jerkunica bass            Brighella
Isaac Galan bar                  Daniell
Maria Hinojosa sop               Dorella
Francisco Vas ten         Pontius Pilate

Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real, Madrid / Ivor Bolton Stage director Kasper Holten Video director Janos Darvas Opus Arte (F) [DVD] OA1191D; (D) [BR] OABD7213D (160' * NTSC * 16:9 * 1080p * DTS-HD MA5.1, DTS5.1 & LPCM stereo * 0 * S/s) Recorded live, March 3 & 5,2016

Wagner's second complete opera mostly switched allegiance to contemporary Italian (Donizetti, Rossini) and French (Auber, Herold) models rather than German ones. Its overture opens with a Mediterranean skirt swish of castanets, tambourine and triangle. (The libretto translates Shakespeare's Measure for Measure Venice into Palermo.) There follows a 'Grand comic opera' which, in the still invaluable and only complete 1976 BBC recording under Sir Edward Downes (now on DG), runs a little over three hours. This new performance lasts around two hours 3 5--there are some cuts mostly of repeats, and the running time is about the same as the 1983 Orfeo Sawallisch recording, although longer than rivals new and older from Frankfurt (Oehms/Weigle) and Austrian Radio (Melodram/Heger). Only the ending here is seriously truncated, with the final March returning the German King to Palermo (nearly five minutes on the Downes recording) cut completely.

The cast, led by Christopher Maltman's Friedrich (Wagner's version of the hypocritical regent Angelo) and Manuela Uhl's Isabella, go to with more than a will, although Uhl's encompassing of the part's ferociously wide tessitura is less confident than reviews of last year's Madrid opening suggested. The Luzio and Claudio tenors--more awkward to cast because of Wagner's uneven vocal writing--present clear personalities but sometimes struggle with their music. Bolton conducts with enthusiasm. Like Downes he plays the ruling influence of each musical section for all its worth--the chorus music and the scenes with Luzio, Brighella and Dorella are unapologetically Italian, the nunnery duet for Isabella/Mariana wholly Weberlike; whereas the Sawallisch and Weigle recordings boil down Wagner's borrowings into a kind of pre-mature Wagner style which lessens the score's eccentricity and colour. …

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