Sunday, October 30, 2016

Gergiev / Mariinsky's Wagner: Das Rheingold in Taipei on 2016/10/30

Time: 2016/10/30 (Sunday), 19:00-22:00 (approximately)
Venue: National Concert Hall, Taipei
Valery Gergiev (conductor),
Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra
Mariinsky Theatre Soloists
Wotan: Yuri Vorobiev
Fricka: Anna Kiknadze
Freia: Oxana Shilova
Erda: Zlata Bulycheva
Loge: Mikhail Vekua
Donner: Ilya Bannik
Froh: Yevgeny Akhmedov
Alberich: Vladislav Sulimsky
Mime: Andrei Popov
Fasolt: Vadim Kravets
Fafner: Mikhail Petrenko
Woglinde: Zhanna Dombrovskaya
Wellgunde: Yulia Matochkina
Flosshilde: Ekaterina Sergeeva

Das Rheingold (premiered at the National Theatre Munich on 22 September 1869) by
Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883)

Wilhelm FurtwänglerOrchestra della RAI Roma1953
Joseph KeilberthOrchester der Bayreuther Festspiele1955
Daniel BarenboimOrchester der Bayreuther Festspiele1991-2Review

Gergiev is well known as a very talented, but also volatile conductor. His performance can be unpredictable. I have therefore came to this Das Rheingold (concert form), and the preceding Matinée on the same day, both with excitement and trepidation. So, how was this Das Rheingold?

Without the star cast in Gergiev's recording, one certainly did not expect the same high level of performance. Nevertheless, the "Mariinsky Soloists" consisted of competent to very good singers who were able to deliver their lines with enough precision and confidence to be enjoyable. Especially good was Vladislav Sulimsky's Alberich. In terms of idiomatic Wagner, this orchestra was no Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele. However, most of the drama, excitement and forward momentum were there. The brass' occasional wrong notes were mostly forgivable. Gergiev on the helm was pretty good, although towards the ends he seemed a bit exhausted. (Who wouldn't, after more than 2 hour's concert in the afternoon, and all the travels?)

In the end, this was definitely a worthwhile concert. Ping was extremely impressed by the colorful orchestral sound and claimed that she would have gone to the entire ring  cycles in concert form if Gergiev was to offer them. Not a trivial compliment from Ping when it comes any activity which does not permit use of washroom for more than four hours. Talking about the overactive bladders -- starting about an hour into the opera until the end, some audience members had to leave their seats in the middle of the 3-hour performance, I was told, mostly due to the urge of full bladders.

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