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Orpheus


Orpheus Journal 2008-05/06 (Translation)
Soprano Fortune
By H. B. Zimmermann

Between the overture to Wagner's opera »The Flying Dutchman« and Schumann's »Rhenish Symphony« (Symphony no.3), there was more than just one enjoyable encounter with the charmingly and elegantly dressed soprano singer BARBARA KRIEGER, who presented her just published recordings live and exclusively to a Berlin audience. The recordings are comprised of three orchestra songs (»Cecilia«, »Morning« and »Affection«) and the »Four Last Songs« by Richard Strauss and have been published with the CD Label Brilliant Classics in co-operation with the MúsicaMallorca Festival. There are voices particularly suited for the work of a particular composer. Barbara Krieger may well call such a voice her own. A Strauss soprano as one can only wish for, with a silvery and young sound in the timbre, a grounded depth, a full middle register and, in addition, secure highs capable of defying the orchestra floods (which this afternoon in the Philharmonic Hall sometimes played too strongly) in an ideal way. The fact that her natural but still intellectually internalised interpretation met with appeal from the audience was demonstrated by strong acclamation and applause after each and every song. Though HEIKO MATHIAS FÖRSTER, conducting the Berlin Symphony Orchestra whose playing was characterised by passionate commitment, accompanied her songs in a competent style, differentiated correspondence of the orchestra with the interpreter could have certainly provided the positive overall performance with even more harmony and complexion.



Orpheus 2008-09/10 (Translation)
Downpours
By Ingrid Wanja

Open-air concerts with titles such as »Viva l'Opera« or »Italian Summer Night« always pose a challenge to the weather gods. On July 4 too, St. Peter was no cheapskate and poured rain out of seemingly inexhaustible buckets onto the large audience. This apparently also had a negative impact on the stage control system, as the beginning of both the first and the second part took somewhat longer than usual. As a result, the rest of the second part largely fell victim to the fireworks marking the opening of the American Embassy. What one was able to hear was highly enjoyable as far as the solo singers are concerned. In the first part, consisting of arias and duets from French operas, ROBERTIO ALAGNA gave proof of the fact that his particular strengths lie precisely in this repertoire. Alagna impressed with a sensitively sung flower aria - in a duet with BARBARA KRIEGER from Lakmé -, while a seemingly endless composition from a recently premiered opera by his brother, a mixture of very late romantic and veristic music, was less fascinating. The German soprano singer, who performed an aria from Louise and Michael's »Je dis que rien ne m'epouvante« ¬- pieces of music in which she was able to make use of her beautifully flourishing highs and her maturity as an interpreter - in no way fell behind the standard set by the world star.

Following the break, things took an Italian turn with two duets - or rather their concluding parts ¬- from Butterfly and Bohème, which were not only distinguished by a complete harmony of voices, but also saw the tenor coming out of his shell in performance terms. Eventually, Cavardossi and Adriana Lecouvreur were able to win over the audience altogether in respect of both themselves and their interpreters. However, the Capella Mallorquina choir and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra under the direction of OLIVER TARDY were not up to performing especially the symphony La Forza del destino in this place and these circumstances. If raindrops fall onto your neck from the umbrella of the person standing behind you and small brooks are running into your shoes from the umbrella of the person standing in front of you, you will only be willing to hold out in the event of a masterly musical performance.


Orpheus 2008-09/10 (Translation)
Opera Gala
By Irma Wendler

The opera gala featuring Roberto Alagna and Barbara Krieger in Berlin almost fell through - in other words, »Singin' in the rain« was the order of the day. Two days later, however, the artists had a dry roof (CCH Congressi) over their heads in Hamburg. This had a positive effect above all on the orchestra (as OLIVER TARDY conducted the well-prepared Berlin Symphony Orchestra with the necessary verve and momentum). Though the contributions of the choir (Capella Mallorquina) from La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Nabucco, Carmen and others did not sound as lavish as usual and as expected, they were still able to convince through a very special joy of singing. By contrast, the hit parade of all sorts of arias, duets, overtures (with the one from La Forza del Destino being particularly enthralling) and interim plays had a truly high quality. This provoked thundering applause from the audience, who strongly cheered the solo singers especially after the Butterfly duet, but also after the one from Lakmé, the one from Mimi/Rodolio (La Bohème) and the Brinclisi (La Traviata). In the solo appearances, BARBARA KRIEGER won favour with the audience through splendidly resounding highs, a powerful middle register and intensive phrasing when she performed the arias of Mariella (The Dead City), Michaela (Carmen) and Adriana Lecouvreur. On the other hand, the sweeping interpretation of E lucevan le stelle (Tosca), Oh so pious (Martha) and a scene from an opera composed by his tenor brother David, the fans of ROBERTO ALAGNA were also almost beside themselves.

The numerous encores (such as Lauretta's O mio babbino caro, which was very intimately sung) showed that this opera gala meant a welcome enrichment of the otherwise rather tired holiday summer programme on the banks of the river Alster.


Orpheus 2008-11/12 (Translation)
Opera Gala Dresden

Following performances in Berlin and Hamburg, the weather gods showed some understanding again on the occasion of the third opera gala with Roberto Alagna and Barbara Krieger at the Church of Our Lady in Dresden. The two stars lent empathetic sensitivity to the duets from La Bohème, Madame Butterfly, Lakme and La Traviata and, in their solo performances, gave proof of their amazing skill which provoked thundering applause from the audience. Again, Oliver Tardy conducted the Berlin Symphony Orchestra with a lot of momentum, and the choir of the German Opera Berlin under the direction of William Spaulding also stood its ground with a strong vocal sound. It was not until a wonderfully sung »Good evening, good night« by Barbara Krieger and Roberto Alagna laying himself down for sleep that a successful open air event unmistakably came to a close.