Webmaster: Len Mullenger
Seen and Heard Opera Review
BEETHOVEN Fidelio (concert performance in German) soloists; singers from the RSAMD; Scottish Chamber Chorus and Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras, Barbican Hall, 8.10.2005 (CC)
High hopes here, not least for Christine Brewer as
Leonore. But for Mackerras, too, a now elderly (octogenarian)
statesman. So what went wrong? A summary of failings would
point to a Brewer who took her time to warm up, a Florestan
(Thomas Moser) whose voice nearly collapsed under the strain
of his major aria (opening of Act II) and an orchestra that
if I am charitable I'd say was having an off night. Or maybe
they are always like this, slack of ensemble and infinitely
uninspiring. Bland. And why did we have Leonore
No. 3 Overture between the two scenes of the final act?
In the theatre surely this is to provide enough time for the
scene change, but that was obviously unnecessary here in concert.
Mackerras used the Prague version (dating from 1814 performances
there, conducted then by Weber) for what its worth. Not much.
Although there was a certain power of utterance here, revisiting
the trumpet calls so soon after their correct dramatic placement
in the opera just does not work.