Date: 5 Sept 2019

Location: Grand Palace Hall

Category: Great Orchestras of the worlds

Georg Katzer “discorso” for orchestra; Brahms Violin Concerto în D major op. 77; Enescu Symphony no. 3 in C major op. 21

Vladimir Jurowski conductor; Choir of The „George Enescu” Philharmonic; Iosif Ion Prunner conductor of the choir; Romanian Radio Children’s Choir; Răzvan Rădos conductor of the choir; Julia Fischer violin

Katzer’s composition is pretty gimmicky, a mixture of sounds coming from all sorts of weird instruments, a fun work but not that impressive overall. The Brahm’s Concerto was the disappointment of the night. I found it quite boring and Julia Fisher did nothing to improve the atmosphere, on the contrary. The Bach encore didn’t manage to help either. The night ended with the Symphony no. 3 by Enescu, but by that point I just couldn’t keep my focus and my mind wondered away. I don’t think I listened to half of it.


Date: 13 Sept 2019

Location: Romanian Athenaeum

Category: By Midnight Concerts

Beethoven “Leonore” (opera in concert, version of 1805)

René Jacobs – conductor; Anne Katharina Schreiber – concertmaster; Florian Helgath – choir master; Torben JüRgens – Don Fernando, king’s minister (baritone); Johannes Weisser –  Don Pizarro, governor of the prison (baritone); Joshua Ellicott – Florestan, a prisoner (tenor); Birgitte Christensen – Leonore, his wife (soprano); Christian Immler – Rocco, gaoler (bass); Robin Johannsen – Marzelline, his daughter (soprano); Nikolaus Pfannkuch – Jaquino, assistant of Rocco (tenor)

This was the first night I left before the performance ended. It started well enough, but it soon went spiralling down. As opposed to the other nights, where the singers basically stood in one place and just sang, interpreting the characters with minimal acting, the intention for this evening was to make the performance livelier, and the singers moved around the stage, giving a sense of scenic context of what was happening. However, it wasn’t a very inspired idea, considering that they wondered around between instrumentalists and microphones. The effect was one of claustrophobic atmosphere, with no one microphone properly catching the sound.

However, I went along with it for the first two acts, the orchestra, Robin Johannsen in the role of Marzelline, Nikolaus Pfannkuch in the role of Jaquino and Christian Immler as Rocco compensating with their wonderful performances. This lasted until Birgite Christensen took the stage as Leonora. That’s the moment I decided I had enough for the night. It was my first time listening to this work, I had a taste of it and decided I would be better of skipping the third act and just enjoy the work properly sung by Nillsson. (Herbert Von Karajan conductor, Orchestra e Coro del Teatro all Scala di Milano, Birgit Nilsson – Leonore, Jon Vickers – Florestan, Hans Hotter – Pizarro, Gottlob Frick – Rocco, Wilma Lipp – Marzelline, Franz Crass – Fernando, Gerhard Unger – Jacquino).


Date: 14 Sept 2019

Location: Romanian Athenaeum

Category: By Midnight Concerts

Händel “Arminio” (concert version)

George Petrou conductor; Max Emanuel Cenćić – Arminio (countertenor); Sandrine Piau – Tusnelda (soprano); Aleksandra Kubas-Kruk – Sigismondo (soprano); Ruxandra Donose – Ramise (mezzo-soprano); Sebastian Monti – Varo (tenor); Pavel Kudinov – Segeste (bas-bariton); David Dq Lee – Tullio (countertenor)

This night was pretty much similar to the previous one. I loved the work itself, but not the singing. Max Emanuel Cenćić was a disappointment for me, his performance was sterile and his voice was weak (hopefully that’s not the case here). The orchestra was marvellous instead, I was captivated by the theorbo and the harpsichord the entire time.


Date: 15 Sept 2019

Location: Grand Palace Hall

Category: Great Orchestras of the world

Britten “Peter Grimes”, opera in concert

Paul Daniel – conductor; Ciprian Ţuţu – conductor of the choir; Carmen Lidia Vidu – multimedia director; Ian Storey – Peter Grimes (tenor); Lise Davidsen – Ellen Orford (soprano); Catherine Wyn-Rogers – Auntie (contralto); Christopher Purves – Balstrode (baritone); Diana Montague – Mrs. Sedley (mezzo-soprano); Joshua Bloom – Swallow (bass); Huw Montague Rendall – Ned Keene (baritone); Michael Colvin – Bob Boles (tenor); Bonaventura Bottone – Rev. Horace Adams (tenor); Barnaby Rea – Hobson (bass); Solomia Lukyanets – Niece 1 (soprano); Rhian Lois – Niece 2 (soprano)

This was the most difficult night for me. I have very mixed feelings about both the work and the performance. It was a combination of fun characters, astonishing music, entertaining dialogue and situational humour, a non conventional sad plot and somehow one of the most boring singing I’ve ever heard. These are my first impressions and I look forward to a second listening (Benjamin Britten – conductor, London Symphony Orchestra, Ambrosian Opera Chorus, Peter Pears – Peter Grimes, Heather Harper – Ellen Orford, Bryan Drake – Captain Balstrode, Elizabeth Bainbridge – Auntie, Ann Robson – Mrs Sedley, Owen Brannigan – Swallow) to see which way the boat is going to swing: love it or hate it.


Date: 20 Sept 2019

Location: Romanian Athenaeum

Category: By Midnight Concerts

Händel Giulio Cesare in Egitto HWV 17 (opera in concert version)

Christophe Rousset – conductor; Christopher Lowrey – Giulio Cesare (countertenor); Karina Gauvin – Cleopatra (soprano); Ann Hallenberg – Sesto (mezzo-soprano); Kacper Szelążek – Tolomeo (countertenor); Ève-Maud Hubeaux – Cornelia (mezzo-soprano); Ashley Riches – Achilla (bass)

I was so looking forward to seeing this opera live and it was a lovely evening for the most part, with the exception of Ève-Maud Hubeaux, as Cornelia, who was borderline horrible at times. Ann Hallenberg was my favourite out of all the singers. Unfortunately, I was so tired that I couldn’t stay until the and I left before the last act. The old man sitting next to me falling asleep every five minutes didn’t help either. I’ll make sure to be well rested before having a go at the 2012 Salzburg Festival version: Giovanni Antonini – conductor; Il Giardino Armonico; Andreas Scholl – Cesare; Cecilia Bartoli – Cleopatra; Anne Sofie von Otter – Cornelia; Philippe Jaroussky – Sesto; Christophe Dumaux – Tolomeo; Jochen Kowalski – Nirena; Peter Kalman – Curio.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *