The Observer, Sunday 22 August  2004
Anthony Holden
von Weber: Der Freischütz, Edinburgh, 17 August 2004
For Weber, read Lloyd Weber
Usher Hall
....This six-piece concert was a mere hors d'oeuvre to the operatic blowout that followed over three nights in the Usher Hall, the first course served by Charles Mackerras and his Scottish Chamber Orchestra in the shape of Der Freischütz. For once, Festival director Brian McMaster also got the rest of his dream-team casting: Jonas Kaufmann and Hillevi Martinpelto as lovers Max and Agathe, John Relyea and Christopher Maltman as Kaspar and Ottokar, Siegfred Vogel and Ronan Collettas Kuno and Kilian, Ailish Tynan as Annchen.

For my money, this plot is quite as absurd as the others, with its reliance on magic bullets and other such gothic-horror gizmos. Only the hirsute Kaufmann, sporting a wildman look as outlandish as his role, hurled himself into the evening with the requisite abandon: Relyea was too concerned to be charming, Martinpelto too unsure of her command in the top register. The show was stolen by Mackerras and his marvellous players, who squeezed every stave of drama from Weber's luridly romantic score.


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