Sweden Dala-Floda Opera Festival 2021  – Wagner, Mozart: Soloists, Dalasinfoniettan / Marie Rosenmir (conductor). Mockfjärd Hall, Mockfjärd, Sweden, 1.8.2021 (GF)
Wagner – Siegfried-Idyll
Mozart – Der Schauspieldirektor, K.486
Madame Herz – Alexandra Orrgård Solén
Mademoiselle Silberklang – Maria Kjelsson
Monsieur Vogelsang – Mathias Zachariassen
Buff – Joel Kyhle
Last year’s festival in Dala-Floda was cancelled due to the pandemic, as were practically all musical activities, but this year it was revived, albeit in a somewhat reduced form. The tenth anniversary festival was inaugurated on 1st August with an orchestral concert in the Mockfjärd Hall, an indoor sports arena some kilometres east of Dala-Floda. The region’s professional orchestra, Dalasinfoniettan, took part in the festival for the third time, conducted by Marie Rosenmir, who also led the orchestra two years ago. In an hour-long concert without an interval, two works were performed. They opened with a finely nuanced reading of Richard Wagner’s symphonic poem Siegfried-Idyll, practically the only Wagner composition that is possible for a sinfonietta-sized ensemble to play. It was composed in 1869 as a birthday present to his second wife Cosima after the birth of their son Siegfried and was first performed on Christmas Day in 1870. Initially it was never intended for publishing, but after some years Wagner changed his mind and expanded the orchestration from the original 13 players to 35. The main theme was also incorporated in the final scene of his opera Siegfried. It is a true idyll, a sun-drenched musical dreamscape, and thanks to effective highlighting on the part of the orchestra, the sterile surroundings of the sports hall were conjured away, allowing the audience to indulge in their own dreams.
The second work was Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario), his little comic singspiel from 1786, the same year as Le nozze di Figaro. It is a lean story with a great deal of spoken dialogue and only five musical numbers: the overture, two contrasting soprano arias, a terzetto and a concluding vaudeville. Today it is rarely performed in the original version. Often a narrator relates the proceedings or, in concert, only the musical numbers are performed. In Mockfjärd two narrators were engaged, Zinat Pirzadeh and Byns Mats Larsson, and alas they tended to be too verbose. That also goes for their introduction to the Siegfried-Idyll. The overture bursts with obvious joy and verve – the sinfonietta is a typical Vienna classic of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century. Of the singers Alexandra Orrgård Solén as Madame Herz was rather wayward in her aria with smudged coloratura and shrill top notes – unless it was a deliberate parody – while Maria Kjelsson’s Mademoiselle Silberklang was confident and secure. In the terzetto, which has the two ladies debating who is the better singer, Mathias Zachariassen as Monsieur Vogelsang did his best to mediate with his nuanced singing – and acting. Joel Kyhle’s Buff joined them in the vaudeville, powerful and expressive. In spite of many good things, it was a dispiritingly short concert, half of which was devoted to speaking.