Mariinsky Ring

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Mariinsky Ring

Post  jflatter on Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:07 pm

Having heard the news about the above. I was initially excited that there was going to be a Ring in London a lot earlier than expected. However I was told by someone who went to the Cardiff Ring that the playing by the orchestra was amazing but the singers were patchy and because they are all on consecutive nights there is loads of double casting. Does anyone else have some thoughts to offer on this or did anyone see the Cardiff Ring?

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Mariinsky ring

Post  Nicholas on Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:23 pm

For articles on the Mariinsky Ring from St. Petersburg and the Mariinsky Festival in Orange County, CA visit livingattheopera.com Thank you, Nick del Vecchio, Director

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Re: Mariinsky Ring

Post  Marina Romani on Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:01 am

The Mariinsky Ring received controversial reviews indeed. And having been around for years, each production showed different strengths and weaknesses. As for the Cardiff revival, I didn't attend it personally, but I realized reviews are all along these lines:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2006/dec/05/classicalmusicandopera2

I can't wait for the ROH to announce the cast for this production!

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Re: Mariinsky Ring

Post  musiclover on Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:25 pm

My wife and I saw this in 2006 in Cardiff and really enjoyed it; seeing the Ring on consecutive nights is quite an experience. The singers were rotated - some were very good, some were poor, but then I guess the ROH has more stature than the WMC so maybe they'll pull out all the stops. I've not checked teh prices for the production, but it was certainly very enjoyable. I publised a review on my blog at teh time; link and the actual review below:-

http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=104288589&blogId=202495950

Here it is in full:
"I first saw Das Rheingold on TV in my teens and loved it - I have memories of the two giants, Fafner and Fasolt, having a fight on stage accompanied to some great, dramatic music. I did see two operas "live" in that period, Tristan und Isolde and Fidelio but then life intervened and I did not see another opera for about 25 years! It wasn't until two years ago that I saw my first Das Rheingold, in the current Royal Opera House production. I've seen the remaining three operas in the ROH set in the following months but the cycle must have been spread over about 18 months or so - ROH are not doing their proper cycle until next autumn - alas, we cannot afford to go!

So you can see that I am a novice when it comes to the Ring. However, from what I've seen, read and heard, we all are, as there seem to be more interpretations than interpreters, and there are many of those!

The Mariinsky then, was my first proper Ring cycle. Now I want more! I want more, although one of the lessons that I've learnt is that you have to treat a Cycle like a holiday - stay at the resort and not attempt to do get up at 7am and do half a day's work before travelling to and from the venue! I am exhausted - goodness knows how the orchestra and the conductor, Valery Georgiev feel! - I hope their schedule allowed them a rest!

This was a very enjoyable Ring, theatrically and musically.

The settings by George Tsypin are influenced by Valery Gergiev's homeland myths: George has captured wonderfully the whole space of the stage by using four giant humanoid torsos that act as active witnesses to the enfolding events; either imbued with inner light; sporting different heads appropriate to the particular scene, taking on different postures and even moving when appropriate. For instance, the downfall of Valhalla at the very end is symbolised by these beings lying down. When you add the effective lighting, including the use of video projected textures, the end result is a captivating, ever-changing landscape against which the action is developed. Some of the scenes were incredibly striking: those in the Rhine, both in Das Rheingold and Gotterdamerung; the Nibelheim scene; the wedding scene in Gotterdammerung - but to single these out is possibly unfair. The only occasion it didn't work for me (I was not scared, had no sense of danger) was in the dragon-slaying scene in Siegfried, although Mrs. T thought this was very effective. A slight niggle for us both was that the sets creaked occasionally when being walked on by the cast: very disturbing in the middle of the quieter sections of music.

The orchestra was first-class: Valery Gergiev conducted at a slowish tempo suited to the singers and the mood of the sets but drew brilliant contrasts in power during the performances, without ever allowing his fortissimos to subdue the singers.

The Mariinsky had decided to rotate singers in the key roles - I don't know if this is standard procedure for a Ring Cycle in four days, as some of the roles are very demanding on the voice (although some of the changes were in minor roles also) - this was to an extent disconcerting but, from another aspect, a godsend as some of the singers, drawn entirely from the Mariinsky company, were not all uniformly excellent and some, unfortunately, were underpowered in crucial roles. For instance, Yevgeny Nikitin struggled as Wotan in Das Rheingold (but made a better Gunther in Gotterdamerung), whereas Mikhail Kit did a splendid job of it in Die Walkure. (Vadim Kravets was a stand-in for the indisposed Yevgeny during Siegfried and was poorer even than him). The vocal stars, for me, were Vassily Gorshkov (Loge in Das Rheingold and Mime in Siegfried), Mikhail Petrenko for his performance as Hagen in Gotterdammerung - fantastic!!, Larissa Dakota (Fricka in Die Walkure and Waltraute in Gotterdamerung). Leonid Zazhozhaev was a young and exciting Siegfried in Siegfried and I also liked the two Brunhildes - Olga Savova in Die Walkure and Olga Sergeyeva in Siegfried and Gotterdamerung. I actually preferred Sergeyeva, whose acting was also excellent, but Mrs T and a number of our friends all hated her - Emily's comment was that she was like "sulphuric acid with bare blades"! She could get a career as an opera critic!

Overall this Ring was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. At its peak, when the top singers were together, acting well in the atmospheric stage setting and complemented as ever by the excellent playing of the orchestra, we must have been pretty close to Wagner's dream of Gesamtkunstwerk!!"

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Re: Mariinsky Ring

Post  jflatter on Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:49 pm

I had not heard any news about casting but saw this snippet off the Wagner society website http://www.wagnersociety.org/Events_BLOG.HTM. So it seems that they are casting as they have done previously. This may explain the relatively slow take up of tickets amongst the 'Friends' of ROH particularly at the prices that are being charged

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