Opera news, November 2004
von Weber: Der Freischütz, Edinburgh, 17 August 2004
EDINBURGH — Edinburgh International Festival Review, 8/15 — 9/5
Usher Hall
Opera was not neglected, with four staged and four concert performances. The concert performances included a presentation of Richard Strauss’s Capriccio, played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Leopold Hager and featuring a fine cast led by Siegfried Vogel as La Roche, Jonas Kaufmann and Christopher Maltman as Flamand and Olivier, and Stephen Loges and Anne Sofie von Otter as the Count and Clairon. Soile Isokoski was a rather lightweight Countess but still brought a measure of sensitivity to the role.

The featured concert performances were the three major works of Carl Maria von Weber, presented on successive evenings with different orchestras, conductors and singers. Most successful overall was Euryanthe, with a strong performance from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Edinburgh Festival Chorus under David Robinson, and effective portrayals of the major roles by Anne Schwanewilms (Euryanthe), Christine Brewer (Eglantine) and Stewart Shelton (Lysiart); but Der Freischütz, featuring the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Philharmonia Chorus led by Charles Mackerras with his usual aplomb, was scarcely less effective. It featured a touching Agathe in Hillevi Martinpelto, a buoyant Ännchen in Ailish Tynan and strong portrayals of Max and Kaspar, by Jonas Kaufmann and John Relyea, respectively. The Oberon was the least successful Weber opera concert on offer, principally because of the shortcomings of the work itself. The performance, by the Scottish Opera forces, hardly lacked merit though it was not quite up to the standards set by the other two offerings. Even so, Elizabeth Whitehouse and Jane Irwin sang well as Reiza and Fatima and Peter Bronder was a heroic Huon. The Scottish Opera Orchestra and rather smallish chorus was effectively led by Richard Armstrong.


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