Henrik Nanasi Leads a Beautifully Played Magic Flute

SpainSpain Mozart, Die Zauberflöte: Liceu Orchestra and Chorus, Henrik Nanasi (conductor), Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, 26 & 27.7.2016. (JMI)

Die Zauberflöte © A. Bofill

Mozart, Die Zauberflöte

Production: Komische Oper Berlin

Direction: Suzanne Andrade and Barrie Kosky
Sets and Costumes: Esther Bialas
Lighting: Diego Leetz
Videos: Paul Barritt


Tamino: Allan Clayton/Adrian Strooper
Pamina: Maureen McKay/Adela Zaharia
Papageno: Dominik Köninger/Tom Erik Lie
Queen: Olga Pudova/Christina Poulitsi
Sarastro/Sprecher: Dimitry Ivashchenko/Thorsten Grümbel
Papagena: Julia Giebel
Monostatos: Peter Renz/Ivan Tursic
First Lady: Nina Bernsteiner/Mirka Wagner
Second Lady: Karolina Gumos/Maria Fiselier
Third Lady: Ezgi Kutlu/Helena Köhne
Armed Man I / Priest I: Timothy Richards/Christoph Späth
Armed Man II/ Priest II: Bogdan Talos/Carsten Sabrowski
Genius: Tölzer Knabenchor

The current Liceu opera season has ended with The Magic Flute, which will also be the work that opens the autumn season. This is the well-known production by Suzanne Andrade and Barrie Kosky from the Berlin Komische Oper; most of the singers here in Barcelona were also from that company. The performances were well received, although there was not great enthusiasm, largely due to the modesty of the cast.

I saw the same production in Madrid’s Teatro Real last January and wrote at the time (review here).

The musical direction was in the hands of Henrik Nanasi, currently the music director of the Komische Oper, and he showed a great mastery of the score. This conductor is enjoying a remarkable career, one that has taken him to the main opera houses in recent years, and there are good reasons for it. Under his baton the Liceu orchestra was much better than usual. The chorus also gave a fine performance.

Allan Clayton, who sang the part of Prince Tamino in the first cast, has a pleasant voice, although it’s rather small and a little tight at the top. The second Tamino was Australian tenor Adrian Strooper, whose voice is lighter and less consistent than his colleague’s.

Canadian soprano Maureen McKay has sung the role of Pamina in this production since its premiere four years ago. Her voice is attractive and suited to the role. Romanian soprano Adela Zaharia has a more important voice, although she is a little irregular. There are times when her singing is quite good, but she can be a bit shrill in the upper range.

German baritone Dominik Köninger was a fairly modest Papageno in vocal terms and too stiff on stage. Norwegian baritone Tom Erik Lie was a better actor in the part, but his voice is not an important one.

Russian soprano Olga Pudova is a real specialist in the role of the Queen of the Night. She overcame all the difficulties in the score and showed good coloratura, although her voice is somewhat modest. Greek soprano Christina Poulitsi was excellent in the second cast. Her voice has more body than Olga Pudova’s, and she is remarkable in coloratura, hitting the top notes without any problem. There’s no question that she is one of the best interpreters of the character today.

Dimitry Ivaschenko was an excellent Sarastro. His voice is wide enough and beautiful, and he sings with authority, reaching the very low notes. In the second cast, Thorsten Grümbel was correct in the part.

The secondary characters were a good complement.

José M. Irurzun

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