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Thursday 23 February 2012

Ariadne Auf Naxos with Renée Fleming take 2

Some thoughts on the second night. On the whole I enjoyed it more, and musically it seemed like a slightly better night than last time too.

It was a very badly behaved audience - stuff getting dropped, people talking, so much unstifled coughing. In virtually every one of the major arias there was some huge noise. Horrible. Astonishingly there were loads of unsold seats in the balcony...

Renée seemed more relaxed vocally this time, giving slightly more in her opening scena. The top pianissimo B flat was wonderful, but there was audience noise around that moment so one can only hope that it wasn't picked up by the mics. The duet bloomed even more than it did last time too, and her passage from 'Gibt es kein Hinuber?' was really breathtakingly lovely. We'll see how it all turns out up close on the recording. It's being broadcast on Saturday at apparently, and will be available for 3 months for free (not sure whether it will be in every country). Expect youtube clips too. Not sure whether it will the first night, or that Saturday night.

Sophie Koch was better this time as well, some truly radiant singing in the middle of the act and then the duet, everything seeming more in control but with more risk taking. The sound and focus reminded me somewhat of Christa Ludwig. Only the final "Musik ist eine heilige Kunst" wasn't quite as lovely as the rest.

Robert Dean Smith sounded better than last time too, the famous climactic highs delivered as if they were no trouble at all. I was again hugely impressed.

More things irritated in the production, but I won't go into them. The rest of the singers were much the same as last time.

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