Le toreador and L’heure espagnol @ Aachen

ec_3b4d9085b432f89d13e8ab0cb79a045fI believe it is always a good idea to have students of a music academy perform on an official stage, for at least two reasons: the students get the feeling of a formal public, and the public usually gets to hear operas that are rarely performed. In Aachen the music academy of Cologne performed Le toreador by Adolphe Adam and L’heure espanol by Ravel.

Both performances were, everything considered, extremely enjoyable. In Le toreador Larisa Vasyukina has a beautiful timbre and delivers all the difficulties of the florid part very well. I also enjoyed very much Agris Hartmanis although his voice is sometimes covered by the orchestra. Tobias Glagau has much potential, but he sometimes reverts to a throaty emission.

ec_9400d8b273166fa10dfe60e5aeb72bd2The cast of L’heure espagnole was equally good. The witty plot was very well sung by all cast members where I especially enjoyed Panagiota Sofroniadou and Fabio Lesuisse as Concepcion and Ramiro. All singers were also very good actors

Herbert Görtz directed with much verve and Raimund Laufen with charme an orchestra that played with much clarity and elan. Setting-wise, Le toreador was functional and enjoyable, L’heure espagnol beautiful.

Personally I found the evening a success and it left nothing to be desired. A praise to the Theater Aachen for including student performances into their season.
A practice that is very much desired if only for the sheer motivation of the singers.

Musikalische Leitung-Herbert Görtz (Le toreador), Raimund Laufen (L’heure espagnol), Inszenierung-Christian Raschke, Bühne-Detlef Beaujean, Kostüme-Lea Reusse, Licht-Eduard Joebges, Dramaturgie-Christoph Lang, Coraline-Larisa Vasyukhina, Tracolin-Tobias Glagau, Don Belflor-Agris Hartmanis, Caritea -Irena Orawiec, Concepcion-Panagiota Sofroniadou, Gonzalve-Soon-wook Ka, Torquemada-Tobias Glagau, Ramiro-Fabio Lesuisse, Don Inigo Gomez-Jan Schulenburg

Juan Diego Florez – French arias in Liège

Lamour-300x300A voice can sing anything. If Bartoli would sing fado or Lady Gaga yodel her way through the Tyrolean Alps……people would still applaud. Same with Florez singing French arias. And there is nothing really wrong with him singing French repertoire…. Technically speaking. But it is evident that in the more cantabile pieces his passion comes out the most. The first half of program was …ahem….discreet to say the least.  All French arias in the so called larmoyant style. So the first part was sentimentally charged to the point of rolling eyes to heaven. Were it not for the orchestra who interspersed the quieter, sung pieces with livelier ones . The second part started well with an Italian composing French (La favorite by Donizetti), it tickeled my interest with a rather rare Berlioz, briefly returned to the ranting-Frenchman-style with Gounod and finished off with a show stopper by Offenbach. It was not by coincidence, in my opinion, that the pieces which were not French came out with more enthusiasms. After all, it is in belcanto that Florez excels. And although he sells them all under a French hat, they do differ. Offenbach (a German, but let’s keep him as French)’s piece has a somewhat belcantistic imprint. As have the encore numbers by (the Italians) Verdi (Je veux encore entendre from Jérusalem) and Donizetti (Pour mon ame from La fille du regiment).

The orchestra does its best, as does the director, who dramatically sank in my esteem when he finished the ouverture to La Favorite with a decrescendo on the final chord. (at times it even was Florez who suggested the tempo though.). It’s always a pleasure to hear Florez sing, though the pleasure could have been increased by a program he excells in.


Adolphe Adam, Ouverture Le Toréador – Léo Delibes, Prendre le dessin d’un bijou, Lakme – Georges bizet, ouverture Carmen – Jules Massenet, O Nature, pleine de grâce, Werther – Jules Massenet, Pourquoi me réveiller Werther – Getano donizetti, Un ange, une femme inconnue La favorite – Gaetano donizetti, La favorite ouverture – Hector Berlioz, O blonde Cérès Les troyens – Hector Berlioz, Les troyens ballet – Charles gounod, Romeo et Juliette L’amour – Jacques offenbach, La belle Hélène Au mont Ida. Bis: Jerusalem Je veux la revoir, Verdi – Donizetti, La fille du regiment…Pour mon ame