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Another production that hit the headlines for the wrong reasons was Der Rosenkavalier at Glyndebourne in 2014, when several critics were taken to task for criticising the appearance of mezzo soprano Tara Erraught, who had been unflatteringly costumed. Alas, lightning does strike twice as the poor young woman sports a beard and clerk’s bands as Siébel in Reinhard von der Thannen’s production of Faust, filmed at Salzburg last year. (Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger.) Happily, her whiskers don’t encumber her acting or her vocal performance. Quite what von der Thannen’s production is about I’m not sure. It’s very white, very modern, and pretty empty apart from an army of Pierrots. The word ‘Rien’ is lowered at beginning and end, so I think we can guess that there’s a strong sense of nihilism at play here. It is, however, curiously compulsive to watch. Piotr Beczala is a tasteful Faust, Ildar Abrazakov a fluent Méphistofeles and Alexey Markov a large-scale Valentin. Best of all is Maria Agresta, whose Marguerite is fresh, cleanly sung, and has the vocal chops to survive Act V intact. Aléjo Perez conducts a confident and appropriately grand reading of the score.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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