Lothar Koenigs Conducts a Superbly Played and Beautifully Sung Lohengrin

29/03/2016

Wagner, Lohengrin: Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Chorus, Lothar Koenigs (conductor), Nationaltheater, Munich, 27.3.2016. (JMI)

Lohengrin

Richard Jones’s Lohengrin (c) Bayerische Staatsoper

Wagner, Lohengrin

Production:

Direction: Richard Jones
Sets and Costumes: Ultz
Lighting: Mimi Jordan Sherin

Cast:

Lohengrin: Robert Dean Smith
Elsa: Edith Haller
Ortrud: Petra Lang
Telramund: Thomas J. Mayer
King Heinrich: Günther Groissböck
King’s Herald: Martin Gantner

This Richard Jones production of Lohengrin had its premiere in July 2009, with Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros in the lead roles. The British director was loudly booed at the time, and with good reason. His personal vision has nothing to do with the libretto and score. Here is what I wrote seven years ago, and my opinion has not changed (2009 review).

The musical direction was entrusted to Lothar Koenigs, a conductor with a well-deserved reputation, whom I had not seen since a Wozzeck in this theatre four years ago. His conducting then seemed excellent, and that impression has been reconfirmed. I remember very vividly Kent Nagano in this same opera six years ago, and Koenigs was at that level. The only problem was some excess of orchestral volume at times, given that the two main protagonists do not have big voices. I would say that the musical aspect was the best part of the performance, especially because we could enjoy the great Bayerische Staatsorchester at their best.

Klaus Florian Vogt, one of the best interpreters of Lohengrin at present, had been announced for the cast but, unfortunately, he cancelled. He was replaced by Robert Dean Smith, undoubtedly one of the interpreters of reference in recent years. This American tenor has always been distinguished by his beautiful voice and elegant singing, never forced, and he continues to offer the same virtues. I find the size of his voice is diminished a little now and he was tighter at the top, particularly in the last act.

Elsa was performed by Edith Haller, who had a brilliant start to her career some ten years ago, but lately is not much seen in the major opera houses. Her Elsa was nicely done, with an ample and attractive voice in the middle range. Her top notes are problematic, and they were rather shouted in the last act.

Petra Lang is one of the great references in the character of Ortrud. Her singing may not have the elegance of Waltraud Meier, but she gave a convincing performance, brilliantly overcoming all the vocal difficulties of the role. The difference between this Ortrud and her Sieglinde last month in Dresden is remarkable. Here, she is like a fish in water.

Baritone Thomas Johannes Mayer as Telramund was correct in the role. For me, his voice is less black than what is demanded by this evil character.

Günther Groissböck was King Heinrich, and he was faultless, although I confess that I prefer a true bass in this character, while Mr. Groissböck is more a bass-baritone.

Martin Gantner was well-suited to the part of Herald.

José M. Irurzun

 

Print Friendly

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! The Cleveland Orchestra’s 2018 Blossom Music Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! LA Opera’s 2018/19 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Buxton Festival 2018 and its New CEO __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music at the Barbican in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! Violinist Liza Ferschtman Celebrates Bernstein’s Centenary in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Piccadilly Chamber Music Series in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera and More in Buenos Aires in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Spend a Penny for Grange Park Opera’s Lavatorium Rotundum __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 Lucerne Summer Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! I Musicanti’s Alexandra and the Russians at St Johns Smith Square in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ANDREA CARÈ AS HE RETURNS TO COVENT GARDEN AS DON JOSÉ __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group to Perform Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto at Cadogan Hall __________________________________
  • NEW! Rafael de Acha Introduces Some of Cincinnati’s New Musical Entrepreneurs __________________________________
  • NEW! ENB’s 2018 Emerging Dancer will be Chosen at the London Coliseum on 11 June __________________________________
  • NEW! Akram Khan’s Giselle for ENB Can be Seen in Cinemas from 25 April __________________________________
  • NEW! BARRY DOUGLAS IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • UPDATED! SOME OF OUR REVIEWERS CHOOSE THEIR ‘BEST OF 2017’ __________________________________
  • NEW! OMER MEIR WELLBER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • NEW! GREGOR TASSIE IN CONVERSATION WITH VALENTINA LISITSA __________________________________
  • NEW! Dénes Várjon Talks to Sebastian Smallshaw About Budapest’s Kamara.hu __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM – DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY (1962-2017) __________________________________
  • NEW! Ann Murray’s Masterclass at the V&A Part of Opera: Passion, Power and Politics __________________________________
  • NEW! A Composer Speaks Up for the Environment: An Interview with Margaret Brouwer __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Russian Ballet Icons Gala at the London Coliseum on 25 February __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H