31 December 2018
For the last day of the year we get the best productions of 2018 according to BravOpera Critics score, the average rating of all the reviews impression about a single production. As usual we take in consideration all productions of Roh, OnP, Scala and new productions of Staatsopera Unter den Linden and Deutsche Oper!
Third prize 91/100
A good pre-owns direction is often a good starting point for a successfully production. This is the case of La finta giardiniera, originally created by Frederic Wake-Walker for the Glyndebourne 2014 and bought by La Scala for the autumn 2018.
“Il regista britannico firma uno spettacolo frizzante e gustoso, oltremodo ironico e variopinto, basato essenzialmente sull’idea di relazione tra amore e pazzia, tra sentimento e delirio.” (Stefano Balbiani, “Connessi all’opera”).
With a very good, young and balanced cast, an experienced conductor as Diego Fasolis who use an orchestra playing on original instruments the receipt gave the wished positive result!
“Il cast comprende alcune delle voci più interessanti della nuova generazione di cantanti mozartiani” (Fabio Vittorini, “Il Manifesto”). The “Ensemble of musicians of the La Scala orchestra playing on original instruments, under the baton of Diego Fasolis, who drove the show with his customary exuberance and attention to dynamics; the orchestra’s performance was a delight” (Laura Servidei, “Bachtrack”).
Second prize 94/100
The second prize is a tie: Elektra at Teatro alla Scala with the last stage direction of Patrice Chéreau and the revival of the diptych L’Heure espagnole/Gianni Schicchi at OnP by Laurent Pelly.
Christoph von Dohnányi conducted a close to perfect Elektra, “La sua è una Elektra che non si concede al piacere di un suono pasciuto” while “le qualità del cast, interpretative prima che strettamente vocali, emergono prepotenti” for Enrico Girardi (“Corriere della Sera”).
This diptych of 2004 puts together Ravel and Puccini and it works “Sans doute grâce à Laurent Pelly, qui parvient à les relier” for Didier Van Moere (“Contertonet”) and the “chanteurs-comédiens tous excellents sous sa férule décapante” for Claude Helleu (“Altamusica”). “Ajoutons qu’une excellente distribution jointe à une direction d’orchestre (Maxime Pascal) aussi dynamique, qu’intelligente et claire, font ressortir l’allant, le style et la subtilité des coloris de chaque œuvre” (Bénédicte Palaux-Simonnet, “Crescendo”).
First prize 97/100
Again a diptych, again a revival, again at Opèra de Paris: La Voix humaine, with an astonishing Barbara Hanningan and Le Château de Barbe-Bleue with John Relyea as Le Duc and Ekaterina Gubanova as Judith. This revival signed by Krzysztof Warlikowski was very appreciated as Ingo Metzmacher on the pit. “Nous retrouvons la même distribution qu’il y a deux ans, et assistons avec plaisir à cette production captivante et très réussie” (Laurent Amourette, “Classicagenda”).
But again, there is a tie… First-place goes to Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk by Roh, too!
“Antonio Pappano and his players have a superb, if strenuous, night, and rightly earned the most explosive final ovation” (Tim Hochstrasser, “Plays to see”). Similarly, “Eva-Maria Westbroek […] now she incarnates the part with a searing intensity. The Dutch soprano […] she was completely inside her role and vocally fearless” (Hugh Canning. “The Times”).
Claudia Pritchard (“Culture Whisper”) sum up a common impression: “This production will stay in the repertoire for years to come. If you don’t catch it this time, watch out for its next run, and keep your fingers crossed that Westbroek will again be the one getting the decorators in.”