Sunday, 25 March 2012

Strauss - Ariadne auf Naxos. Fleming, cond. Thielemann 2012 Baden-Baden

Renee Fleming Shuns Casino, Sings ‘Ariadne’ in German Town - Bloomberg
“At this stage in my career, I don’t have to take any big risks,” Fleming says. “You want to take a calculated risk, not one that leads to people saying ‘yes, but there was that one time when she made that big mistake,’” she laughs. “It’s always a shame when that happens, especially if you’ve gotten by for decades without anything hugely tragic. 

 Capriccio: Renée Fleming's first Ariadne Auf Naxos in Baden-Baden
The characters for the buffa comedia del'arte scenes are dressed like circus performers or french mime artists, but their antics aren't really that funny. Throughout, I felt that Arlaud failed to really listen to the character of the music and libretto in order to inform his directional choices and the same was true of Andrea Uhmann's costumes - from both too broad, too bold, too plain - the result was that it was hard to reconcile the visuals with the sound and the subtlety of the music was lost. The seria characters are essentially dressed in concert dress with accoutrements - Ariadne gets a black veil and a red gown to reveal when she undergoes her spiritual transformation, and Bacchus gets a little white sash to go over the top of his creme suit. But there's not enough sense of character and contrast in these choices, and with the stage just a set of white steps, a few curved panels and a photo of a sky projected at the back, it all falls rather flat. The final duet essentially just becomes a concert performance of an opera, the two leads just standing and singing in evening dress with the amount of acting one would expect at such an event (i.e. there, but minimal and audience directed).
 Renée Fleming's Ariadne auf Naxos - YouTube
I thought it was one of the strangest things I've ever seen. BUT, Renee was wonderful and stunning to behold as always. She sounds great here though I am starting to worry about her; just watching her face you can tell it's not as easy for her to sing as it once was. But by god I'll listen to her until she steps off the stage forever.
More - at Zoho notebook

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