Rusalka, almost a century later, at the Theatre Royal
Antonin Dvorák (1841-1904)
Libretto by Jaroslav Kvapil, based on the fairy tale Undine (1811) by Friedrich de la Motte Fourqué and inspired by the story The Little Mermaid (1837) by Hans Christian Andersen and other European stories.
New production of the Royal Theater in co-production with the Dresden Semperoper, the Teatro Comunale Bologna, he
Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and the Palau Les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia.
Teatro Real in Madrid 13 November 2020
D. Musical: Ivor Bolton
D. scene: Christof Loy
Scenographer: Johannes Leiacker
Costume designer: Ursula Renzenbrink
Choreographer: Klevis Elmazaj
D. choir: Andrés Máspero
Distribution: Olesya Golovneva, David Butt Philip, Rebecca von Lipinski, Andreas Bauer Kanabas, Okka from the Damerau, Sebastiá Peris, Esteve Manel, Juliet Mars, Julitta Aleksanyan, Rachel Kelly and Alyona Abramova.
In 1891 Antonin Dvorák received a letter at his home in Prague in which the influential Jeanette Thurber, founder of the New York National Conservatory of Music, offered him the position of director of the New York Conservatory. It was there that he wrote one of his best known works, the New World Symphony, and it was there also that Dvorák listened, as I had not done before, Wagner's obas. He lived in New York until 1895, year he returned to Prague to take over his Conservatory. It was then that Rusalka wrote, the penultimate of his works, and where is warned, clearly, Wagner influences. Not only for its ambitious duration, more than three hours, if not, by the use of leitmotifs referring to the characters and an orchestration full of complexity and delicacy., in the case of Dvorák, the nationalist inspiration could not be missing in the score. And it is that Rusalka is, above all, an opera with a strong Czech character. Evocative of romantic melodies, that can be seen in some of the brightest moments played by the harp or that ending, almost momentous, which is considered by many one of the most sublime opera of all time.Rusalka arrives at the Royal Theater as one of the great premieres of the season. And it can be considered a premiere, since since 1924 it had not been re-represented in Madrid. On that occasion, was his librettist, Jaroslav Kvapil, who took over the stage direction.

The libretto is based on the fairy tale Undine (1811) by Friedrich de la Motte Fourqué and inspired by the story The Little Mermaid (1837) by Hans Christian Andersen and other European stories. Is, definitely, a tale that stage director Christof Loy (Whose Capriccio from last season we'll never forget), has located inside a theater.

For Loy, the theater is the only place where reality and dreams can be represented at the same time. That duality that exists in the work between the fantastic world, to which Rusalka belongs and the underworld she longs for. But Loy's elegant, gray scenography is missing essential elements of the work. The lake, who is one more character and who gives meaning to the protagonists and the story, does not appear by chance. Nor are there hardly any references to nature, another must-have romantic item.

Ivor Bolton's musical direction was at a great height. The expressiveness of his gestures infects the orchestra that had moments of great brilliance, generating that magical atmosphere of the score. The strings and magic that Mickäele Granados was able to generate with his harp stood out from a prominent place above the pit.

Extraordinary the choir, this time offstage, that recreated the magic of the lake flawlessly. Very good also the performance of the dancers and actors, who did not act as a mere accompaniment in the scenes, but they had a great role in that kind of sexual orgy that Christof Loy marked himself.

The young Russian soprano Olesya Golovneva demonstrated great versatility on stage, not only sang, she also tiptoed around the stage with her ballet slippers. With a pleasant timbre and a delicate line of singing, reached moments of great beauty in his interventions. He found his difficulties in the most serious areas of his score.

The British David Butt Philip was in charge of giving life to the prince who falls in love with Rusalka. A role not easy, due to the great demand that the tenor has in this work and that Butt knew how to address without great difficulties.

Andreas Bauer Kanabas' Vodnik best represented the most heartless part of the menacing father, than the protector with her daughter Rusalka. Has powerful low and mid tones, but it had its difficulties in the highest notes.

The evil Jezibaba was played by German mezzo-soprano Okka von der Damerau. His good stage presence helped raise a dual character, like the rest, with its funny part and its disturbing and dark part. Good flow of well-timbred and adjusted voice.

Rebecca von Lipinski played the insinuating foreign princess with great intention and freshness, Rusalka's rival in conquering the prince.

Much applauded were the three nymphs played by Julietta Aleksanyan, Rachel Kelly, with impressive treble, and Alyona Abramova. With very balanced and well timbred voices, they unfolded with ease all over the stage.

The rest of the cast was at a high level, both the hunter by Sebastiá Peris and the servants played by Manel Esteve and Juliet Mars.

One more success of the Royal Theater, that continues to make representations, It is already without stage adaptations due to the pandemic, to the amazement of the theaters of the rest of Europe. Good for Matabosch!.

Text: Paloma Sanz
pictures: Monika Rittershaus


Capriccio, Strauss, a gift insperado at the Royal Theater
Richard Strauss (1865-1949)
Teatro Real in Madrid, 31 May 2019
Conversation piece for music en un acto
Record of Joseph Gregor, Richard Strauss y Clemens Krauss, based on the original idea of ​​Stefan Zweig
Released in the Staatsoper in Munich on 28 October 1942
Premiere at the Royal Theater, in co-production with
Opera de Zúrich
D. musical: Asher Fisch
D. scene: Christof Loy
Scenographer: Raimund Orfeo Voigt
igurinista: Klaus Bruns
illuminator: Franck Evin
Choreographer: Andreas Heise
Distribution: Marlin Bystrom, Josef Wagner, Norman Reinhardt, André Schuen, Christof fish eaters, Theresa Kronthaler, John Graham-Hall, Leonor Bonilla, Juan José de León, Torben Jüngens, Emmanuel Faraldo, Pablo Garcia-Lopez, Tomeu Bibiloni, David Oller, Sebastiá Peris, davil Sánches, Elizabeth McGorian and Julia Ibáñez
Titular Orchestra of the Teatro Real¿Quién, amid one of the worst moments that crossed the world, I could stop and think and compose an aristocratic refinement as Capriccio? Richard Strauss and Stefan Zweig were able to develop an intellectual debate on the opera itself, the manner of Plato's dialogues. And maybe they did, simply, as evasión.Una method opera on the opera. This was the theme Richard Strauss choice for the last of his compositions, the eternal debate about whether to prevail music or text.
The story had begun years ago, when you start searching for a new librettist, after the death of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, in 1929, which until then he had been his main collaborator and author of the libretto of all his compositions. In his next opera, the silent (The Silent Woman), composed 1934, It takes over the text one of the most important writers of the time, Austrian Stefan Zweig. parallel, Diving in the British Museum Library, Zweig is the script he had written Gionavanni Batista Castri debut for music, after the words, the composer Antonio Salieri. A Strauss liked the idea, but they were forced to postpone the project to the problems that the premiere of the silent woman had caused. He had called for the withdrawal of librettist Name Poster, something that Strauss refused. It came Brand, but he withdrew after a few days.For then had already been banned in Germany Zweig's books. The Jewish Zweig, as he was known by the Nazi regime, he was forced into exile, like many other intellectuals from 1933. He went from being a distinguished foreigner wandering Jew in the Brazilian city of Petrópolis, where he committed suicide with his wife in 1942, fearing that the world had known desapareciera.El sketch libretto by Capriccio initiated by Zweig was retaken, first by Joseph Gregor, and then by Strauss himself and his friend, the conductor Clemens Krauss. It would then director of Capriccio at its premiere. And his wife, ucraniana-Austrian soprano Viorica the Ursuleac, would be the first Countess Madeleine. This time there was no problem at its premiere. The fact that Clemens Kraus was at that time the most powerful man in German opera and personal friend of Goebbels, He helped a lot. Also he helped himself, despite its good relationship with the regime, the flight of many Jewish artists, mainly to the United States.

In preparing Capriccio also attended by director Hans Swarosky, who provided one of the fundamental elements of the opera, a sonnet by the French poet Pierre Ronsard sixteenth century. A declaration of love which is declaimed by Madeleine, especially in the final scene:

I would need to look for other veins
Mine are so full of your love
Another love could not stand

The same year died Zweig, 1942, Capriccio was premiered at the Munich Staatsoper 28 October. Now is the Royal Theater which debuts, in co-production with the Zurich Opernhaus.

When Strauss and Zweig started thinking about Capriccio, they could not agree on whether it should be an opera or a play. Certainly, opera is more like a play that can be. In that, as in other aspects, Capriccio is full of originality and peculiarities.

Christof Loy, helped by the set designer Raimund Orfeo Voigt, He created a bright scenery, full of deliciousness, Empty surface elements and references fill depth this dialogue opera. It is a choral work, It composed of all the characters involved in production, director, composer, librettist, scenographer, singers… It is filled with scenes set in which the actors / singers move and interpreted entirely theatrically, without dramatic excess conventional opera. What fills the development of the scenes of realism and credibility. The scenery is nothing casual. Loy is responsible for directing all the details and does it work with incredible precision. The scenes move smoothly and naturally, as if it were really happening. With very few elements recreates all the thoroughness that holds the score. And all with a feature always present, the elegance.

Asher Fisch music director has achieved an extraordinary result of the Titular Orchestra del Teatro. The initial string sextet, one chamber music piece that highlights the originality of the work, demonstrates the soundness of the Orchestra. The scene and the pit walk in unison fluidity and musicality. Fisch gets the same intensity and sound quality along the more than two-hour representation, with a score full of difficulties and constant changes. All strings sounded exceptionally, but, In addition sextet, excelled horn soloist Ramón Cueves, especially in the interpretation of the Serenade for horn and orchestra of the last scene.

The two lovers vying for the love of Madeleine were interpreted by André Schuen, as Olivier and Norman Reinhardt, as Flamand. The Italian baritone André Schuen and recently surprised us in the Lied at the Teatro de la Zarzuela. Recreate well his role as poet with perfect phrasing and a voice of beautiful timbre and great sound and depth. impeccable theatrically, like the rest of the cast.

Norman Reinhardt played the musician Flamand. His voice light tenor sounded a little forced at times, but he learned to live up assembly. Smart also in his stage performance.

Josef Wagner played the Count, one of the Christof Loy details of the baroque, to make him appear on stage with period costumes. Perfect performance and dark timbre resounding, ideal for the character.

The Swedish soprano Malin Byström gave life to the Countess Madeleine. And really she filled life. Its elegant and aristocratic bearing are perfect for the character and his voice, lyric soprano, perfect for phrasing sung his numerous dialogues supported by a powerful and necessary fiato. Its peak, and the work, It was its glossy finish, that romantic and delicate song of love sonnet by Pierre Ronsard. He mimicked his character absolutely, that could not be more credible. It was perfectly accompanied by her child replicas, Julia Ibáñez and almost old, Elizabeth McGorian.

Interesting were also interventions Theresa Kronthaler, in the role of Clairon. mezzosoprano that, in addition to its good performance voice, He demonstrated his stage training.

Leonor Bonilla and Juan José de León performed superbly to light Italian singers. Winking Strauss to perfectly imbricated Italian opera in the work.

Octet scene servants is another element to highlight in this opera. Both the baroque costumes, all white, as the layout stage. Perfect figurines Klaus Bruns and choreography by Andreas Heise.
To round out this very balanced distribution, both vocally, and the interpretive, citar a John Graham-Hall, como Mr. Mole there Torben Jungens, Butler made.

The Teatro Real has accustomed us, at least, a surprise season. Nobody expects something exceptional. This time, You can say that is the surprise of the bicentennial, The Real. An unexpected gift that justifies, by itself, a season.

Text: Paloma Sanz
Images: Javier del Real
Videos: Teatro Real