Music Magazine, 28th May 2013
Ivan Hewett
Wagner-Geburtstagskonzert, Dresden, 21. Mai 2013
Dresden Festival
Jonas Kaufmann and Christian Thielemann celebrate Wagner's bicentenary in the historic German city
Teil des Artikels:
Last Monday came something truly stirring, a concert of arias from Rienzi, Tannhäuser, and Lohengrin sung by tenor Jonas Kaufmann, interspersed with orchestral music from the same operas from the Staatskapelle under Thielemann. It was fascinating to witness two such different artists side-by-side. Kaufmann seems born to the role of a knight who aspires to the good while being tempted by the flesh. Listening to that lovely tenor sound, ringing yet too suggestive of inwardness to be called 'heroic tenor', one knew which side would win the battle.

How complicated Thielemann seemed in comparison. He has no time for ideas about 'letting the music speak for itself'. He grasps and moulds it with an imperiousness the Master himself would surely have admired. One had a sense he wanted to wring the significance from every passing mood, so that even Wagner's jovial bourgeois moments (as in The Flying Dutchman overture) seemed somehow weighty, as if placed on a pedestal. Sometimes he micro-managed, sometimes he became almost indulgently free-and-easy, but in these latter episodes you knew that any moment he would seize control again, not always at the moments you would expect. It was never comfortable, and always riveting.

For an encore the Staatskapelle's own choir appeared among us, looking festive in red sashes. 'The Entry of the Guests' from Tannhäuser rang out, and the moment it ended a great 'bravo!' rang out. One had the rare experience of a German audience celebrating something very German, without embarrassment. It was a touching moment.

 back top