Der fliegende Holländer

Marc Minkowski
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble
Date/Location
May 2013
MC2 Grenoble
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
Cast
Donald (Daland)Mika Kares
SentaIngela Brimberg
Georg (Erik)Eric Cutler
MaryHelene Schneiderman
Der Steuermann DalandsBernhard Richter
Der HolländerJewgeni Nikitin
Gallery
Reviews
Corliss Phillabaum

This recording, to, presents the score as Wagner originally wrote it in France after his attempt to interest the Paris Opéra in the subject had failed. (The Paris director liked the story and persuaded him to sell it to them for assignment to another composer, whose French opera is also included in this album.) Presumably the version recorded here with an orchestra using period-style instruments is essentially the score which was premiered in Dresden in 1842 but without the last minute shift of locale from Scotland to Norway Wagner made at the last minute.

The most immediately noticeable difference from the opera as it is played today (aside from the orchestral sound) is in the character names: Erik is here Georg and Daland is Donald, and the place name for the first scene is Holystrand rather than Sandwike. (Confusingly the plot summary in the booklet still says it is in Norway.) As the character names appear only in the cast list but are never mentioned in the libretto, that change is almost invisible in a performance of the music. Musical differences are not major but, of course, the Atransfiguration music Wagner added much later to the ends of the overture and the last act are not present. The orchestral sound is often more violent and aggressive, even aside from the differing tone color of the period winds and brass; Wagner later toned tone down the orchestration.

The performance is excellent, though at times a bit lacking in theatrical intensity, especially in the earlier scenes. Minkowski’s reading of the score is aggressive and often brisk, and the voices and orchestra are vividly caught in bright sound. Evgeny Nikitin sings the role of the Dutchman well if a bit blandly, but Ingela Brimberg is an intensely involved Senta with only a very few climaxes that are slightly strained. Of the strong supporting cast, tenor Eric Cutler stands out as a warm-voiced and eloquent Georg/Erik. The excellent accompanying notes and the inclusion of the French opera by Pierre-Louis Dietsch based on Wagner’s sketch make for a release of unusual interest, and the performance is well-worth hearing in its own right.

Audiophile Audition

With The Flying Dutchman, the fifth of Wagner’s operas, the composer entered his musical maturity. Wagner himself saw it as a breakthrough. In his “Eine Mitteilung an meine Freunde” (“A Communication to my Friends”) written in 1851, ten years after the opera, Wagner maintained, “My course was new; it was bidden me by my inner mood, and forced upon me by the pressing need to impart this mood to others. In order to enfranchise myself from within outwards, i. e., to address myself to the understanding of like-feeling men, I was driven to strike out for myself, as artist, a path as yet not pointed me by any outward experience; and that which drives a man hereto is Necessity, deeply felt, incognizable by the practical reason, but overmastering Necessity.”

The roots of the opera lie in Wagner’s experiences after fleeing his post as conductor of the court orchestra in Riga, a job he really wasn’t fond of, but the immediate cause of his taking it on the lam was that he had run up huge debts, and his creditors were closing in.

Wagner and his wife Minna intended to make their way to Paris, but the ship they took across the North Sea ran into storms that forced them to ride out the bad weather among the fjords of Norway. When Wagner finally got to Paris weeks later, he couldn’t sell his new opera Rienzi to the Opéra and was forced to work for two years arranging and copying scores, jobs that barely kept the couple fed over the next two years.

Then he got the idea of writing a one-act opera, including the libretto, which might be more palatable to Parisians than his rejected grand opera. Wagner chose as his subject a sketch in Heinrich Heine’s satirical novel Aus den Memoiren des Herrn von Schnabelewopski (“From the Memoirs of Mr. von Schnabelewopski”). It retold the old folktale of the Flying Dutchman, who in essence sells his soul to the devil, making an oath during a storm at sea that if he can just sail around the cape he’s approaching through impassible headwinds, he’ll be content to sail forever. The devil grants his wish and claims his trophy, but being a compassionate devil, he allows the Dutchman to go ashore once every seven years to search for a mate whose commitment to him will free him. At the point where Wagner’s opera begins, the Dutchman and his ghostly crew have been sailing for ages, his once-in-seven-years sojourns ashore so far unsuccessful. But then he meets up with the Norwegian ship captain Daland, who offers him hope in the form of his beautiful daughter Senta. (Heine’s original story has the Dutchman landing in Scotland, but thinking of his misadventures in the North Sea, Wagner relocated the story to Norway.) When Wagner failed to make a deal for a performance in Paris, he decided to expand the opera, debuting this expanded version in Dresden in 1843.

The Flying Dutchman has many of the hallmarks of Wagner’s later music dramas, including the use of leitmotifs, though not to the extent he was to use them in The Ring. The characters Senta and the Dutchman both have immediately identifiable motifs, as do the Norwegian sailors, given some rollicking hornpipe-like music, and these themes reappear and undergo elaboration and variation as the opera proceeds, just as in later Wagner operas. Many of the scenes show Wagner working toward his idea of continuous melody: Auf hohem Felsen lag ich träumend (“I lay dreaming on the lofty cliff”), the duet between Erik and Senta at the end of Act 2, has a dreamlike, slow-paced unfolding, the melodic line meandering and chromatic, punctuated here and there by snatches of the leitmotifs as if to provide contrast to this melodically fluid number. However, Wagner wasn’t able to entirely overthrow the tyranny of the recitative-and-aria model. On the other hand, The Flying Dutchman is one of Wagner’s most melodious operas, the traditional set pieces such as the spinning song from the Second Act and Erik’s cavatina from the Third supplying memorably attractive music.

This Pentatone recording comes from a series of concert performances of the ten most important Wagner operas during the 2010 season. Pentatone’s intention is to roll out these performances between now and 2013, Wagner’s bicentenary year. It’s an ambitious project and with this first in the series gets off to a commendable start. Conductor Marek Janowski, a Pentatone regular, is a very good choice to helm the project. He’s long been associated with Wagner on recordings—he made the first digital recording of The Ring back in the 80s—and conducts with the right measure of passion and restraint, the passion heard right away in the exciting Overture. But Janowski also accompanies tactfully; the solo voices get “stepped” on very infrequently—which is hard to avoid, given the vicissitudes of live performance and Wagner’s often stentorian orchestra. I know Janowski’s work mostly from orchestral performances, but I hear the same command of instrumental color and sensitive shaping of phrases as I find in his Brahms, Berlioz, and Saint-Saëns.

His soloists, especially the males, are mostly very reliable as well. Swedish bass Matti Salminen has a commanding voice, of course, but he also shades Daland’s character very successfully, managing the delicate balancing act that it represents—a loving father, an able and companionable seaman, who is nonetheless seduced by the other love of his life, riches. A number of such balancing acts occur among the characters of the opera: Albert Dohmen is just as successful at presenting the world-weary Dutchman (and he’s seen many, many corners of the world) who suddenly comes passionately alive to the possibility of Senta’s redeeming love. The smaller male roles are well covered, too, by Robert Dean Smith (Erik) and silky-voiced Steve Davislim (Steurermann).

The two women project their characters convincingly: there’s a slight air of befuddlement to Silvia Hablowetz’s Mary, who fails to ride herd on her young female charges, especially the passionate Senta. And Ricarda Merbeth’s Senta is passionate, as well as conflicted and sometimes downright lost. There’s nobility in her final appearance that makes her fully a match for the larger-than-life Dutchman. But then—there’s that vibrato, wide enough you can cut it with the proverbial knife. If only she had cut it a little thinner or dispensed with it altogether. For me, this is one feature that takes some of the joy out of a powerful musical experience. So if vibrato laid down with a broad brush is one of your particular bêtes noires, be forewarned.

Pentatone’s live recording from the Berlin Philharmonie is potent. Orchestra and chorus are realistically placed, and the recording realistically adds depth to that perspective. Yet these forces are every bit as powerfully and immediately recorded as the solo voices. Since this is a concert performance, there is little of the distraction that stage business usually imposes on a recording. Surround sound is tastefully employed; for the most part, the rear speakers just give a realistic sense of the hall, except for the famous chorus Johohoe! in the last act, where the Dutch sailors are supposed to be heard from below decks (along with several strident onstage piccolos!). In 5.0 surround sound, the sailors’ voices seem to come from over your left shoulder. The voices have the properly spooky, veiled quality they’d have in the theater, which is all to the good, but they also seem to be recorded in a small, airless space, which puts something of a damper on the experience. (This isn’t true in stereo, where the voices are heard on the left side of the soundstage, in what sounds like the same acoustic space as the rest of the forces involved.) That’s my one gripe with the sonics; otherwise, the recording, in either surround sound or stereo, is first-rate.

So I have just a couple of issues to lodge and a good deal of praise to bestow on this start to Pentatone’s Wagner series. Here’s hoping the other installments are at least as fine. [Nice thick bound libretto, and this double-disc set seems to selling for the price of a single SACD…Ed.]

—Lee Passarella

musicweb-international.com

When Wagner arrived in Paris in 1839, his primary aim was to conquer the stage of the mighty Opéra, the principal ambition of every 19th Century opera composer. It was in this context and to this end that he composed Der Fliegende Holländer, but the new director of the Opéra made it pretty plain to him that he would not accept Wagner’s drama. In 1841, Wagner sold the idea of the story – not the opera itself – to the Opéra, as he was desperate for funds. The Opéra then entrusted the tale to two of their librettists who turned it into Le Vaisseau Fantôme and gave it to Pierre-Louis Dietsch to set to music. Hence we have two versions of the same story which premiered in different cities within just a few weeks of each other: Dietsch’s premiered in Paris on 9 November 1842, and Wagner’s premiered in Dresden on 2 January 1843.

Marc Minkowski had the brilliant idea of uniting the two works for his contribution to the Wagner centenary celebrations. It’s an exceptionally welcome set for historical reasons, not just because it gives us Dietsch’s opera for what must be its first recording, but also because we get Wagner’s original thoughts on the Dutchman, which include quite a few surprises for anyone who feels they know the score. Most obviously, both the overture and the very final scene are shorn of their redemptive endings and end rather abruptly. On top of this, Les Musiciens du Louvre play on period instruments giving an interesting tang to the sound.

All very interesting, but what’s it like musically? Rather unexciting, I’m sorry to report. To start with Holländer, I found that the period instruments made really very little difference to my understanding of the piece. I thought that the gut strings would affect the flavour of the music a lot, but in fact it was the winds that made the biggest impression on me. The storm music passes for not very much, but the first appearance of Senta’s theme sounds unusually sweet and appealing. It’s the other less assertive, more feminine aspects of the score that tend to come off better, such as the hushed choruses that end Senta’s ballad, and the finest moment in the whole work arrives with Wie aus der Ferne. Here, partly thanks to the singers, but also to a large degree thanks to Minkowski’s direction of his instrumentalists, I felt that the set got right to the very heart of the interior dialogue that characterises this music. Here are two souls that are crying out for one another in the most intimate manner, a prayer that calls out to whatever and whoever will listen.

Elsewhere, the rest of the performance struck me as really rather slight. The biggest problem here is Nikitin’s Dutchman. His interpretation, either by design or by default, comes across as much too lightweight, missing much of the character’s scale and depth. He finds a little bit by the time of the final scene, but his opening monologue passes for almost nothing, and I found that the tragic grandeur of the role was almost entirely absent. Mika Kares makes a colourful contrast as Daland, and his duet with the Dutchman in Act 1 is very successful. There is a sweet-voiced Steersman from Bernard Richter, more of whom below. The pick of the men is Eric Cutler whose fundamentally light voice grows into the part after a rather underpowered start. Ingela Brimberg also sounds rather light for Senta, and she struggles up to her top notes in the final act. That said, she sings most of the role with success and a rather chilly colour to the voice that tends to work fairly well.

What of the other Dutchman? Well, it’s interesting, but only because you know Wagner’s version of the tale. It’s fun to chart the parallels and differences of the story, but beyond that you get the definite impression that the Opéra backed the wrong horse. The overture is of similar structure to Wagner’s: a storm theme and a more lyrical “love theme”, followed by a more perky major-key section. It’s undoubtedly a pale shadow of Wagner’s, though: the storm music is polite and conventional in comparison with Wagner’s sea salt that whips into your face, while the love music is pleasant but forgettable. That rather sets the tone for the whole work: lots of pleasing melodies that, alas, disappear as soon as you’ve heard them. There are some good things: the opening chorus is elegant if un-extraordinary, and Magnus and Minna’s not-quite-love duet is attractive, if hardly oozing frustrated passion. Minna’s main Act 1 aria is fairly impressive. It carries with it some attractive instrumental obbligati, too, and the ensemble that ends Act 1 is diverting. Minna’s ballad, however, is a definite let-down, especially in comparison with Senta’s equivalent, sounding rather dry and polite. When the orchestral storm actually breaks in Act 1 it carries little conviction, and would ruffle few feathers, never mind threaten a ship. Most damagingly, the final “apotheosis”, if you can call it that, is, frankly, pretty lame.

As for the performances, Sally Matthews makes fairly heavy weather of the opening ballad but she grows into an impressive account of her first act aria and cabaletta, especially in the closing roulades. Russell Braun also makes a very impressive figure as Troïl (the Dutchman). His first address to Minna, full of lyrical ardour, is sung with beautiful – and very French – tone that suits it brilliantly, and he summons up the appropriate seriousness required for his big Act 2 aria. Bernard Richter also conjures up a very French sound for the role of Magnus, and he carries himself off very well in the Act 1 duet with Minna, tossing off some absurdly unnecessary high notes with impressive aplomb. He also does a good job as the tortured priest of the final act. Ugo Rabec makes as much as he can out of the role of Barlow, Minna’s father, who is giving some pleasingly bluff music to accompany his dreams of his daughter’s marriage.

Still, I return to my original view that, while this set is a good idea, it’s primarily valuable for historical reasons. Minkowski’s singers are solid without being brilliant, and the period instruments don’t add that much to the reading of Holländer. It’s put under even more pressure by the good competition there is out there for Holländer, not least from Klemperer, Janowski and, especially, Sinopoli. Furthermore, there is little in Le Vaisseau Fantôme that would make me return to it much. So, despite the noble intentions, I suspect that this set is principally for the historically minded.

Simon Thompson

classical-music.com

Wagner, penniless in 1840s Paris, claimed he’d been obliged to sell his Flying Dutchman scenario to the Paris Opera. This seemed questionable – until the receipt recently surfaced. The scenario was written up by Paris Opera hacks and set by conductor Pierre-Louis-Philippe Dietsch as Le vaisseau fantôme. Dietsch’s opera sank after a few performances, while Wagner, living in the Paris suburb of Meudon, completed his own version – without the redemption themes of later revisions, and set in Orkney not Norway. Now Marc Minkowski has recorded Vaisseau fantôme alongside Wagner’s 1841 original, on period instruments and with fascinating results.

Even the booklet here echoes The New Grove Dictionary’s claim that Dietsch owed more to Captain Marryat’s popular novel The Phantom Ship, a supernatural farrago resembling a straight-faced Pirates of the Caribbean. This simply isn’t true: Dietsch’s Vaisseau fantôme reads like a hearsay account of Holländer, with the plot and core incidents from Wagner’s work remaining surprisingly recognisable. Ironically, when he later conducted Wagner’s version, Dietsch grumbled about the ‘sharp sea-wind’ blowing out of the score, which only highlights the disparity between his conventional talent and Wagner’s raw genius.

The primal force and darkly mysterious hues of Wagner’s maritime imagery eclipse Dietsch’s nature-painting, and Wagner’s developing leitmotif technique brings a greater sense of unity to his score. Where Wagner is dynamic and driven, Vaisseau fantôme is prolix and stiffly melodramatic – in the respective heroines’ ballads, for example, or when the Dutchman’s crew terrify the mortal sailors. Here Wagner’s scene builds to demonic mockery, while Dietsch merely depicts conventional loud-mouthed pirates. Minkowski and his players give Dietsch all the vitality they can. The cast sings with conviction, notably Russell Braun’s passionate ‘Dutchman’ – here Troil, a Norwegian – and Sally Matthews’s Lucia-like Minna. Nevertheless, Dietsch by turns sounds like Auber, Meyerbeer, even Gounod: elegant, lyrical but never distinctive.

Minkowski’s Holländer, though, is an excellent performance, sweeping, vital and atmospheric, carried along by Evgeny Nikitin’s dark, resentful Dutchman and Ingela Brimberg’s fresh-voiced, edgy Senta. Bernard Richter’s Steersman, Eric Cutler’s Georg/Erik and Mika Kares’s Donald/Daland are more ordinary, but still good. By itself, Holländer would be a leading recommendation; with Vaisseau fantôme, probably an infrequent listen, it’s an expensive prospect.

Michael Scott Rohan

Rondo

Wenn aus Senta Minna wird und der fliegende Holländer auf den Namen „Troïl“ hört, ist man schon mittendrin in einem sonderlichen Stück Operngeschichte. Noch Anfang 1841 hatte sich Richard Wagner erhofft, mit der französischen Fassung seines „Holländers“ in der Opernmetropole Paris durchzustarten. Doch es sollte alles ganz anders kommen. Aus Geldnot verkaufte er die Prosaskizze seiner Geschichte an den örtlichen Opernintendanten Léon Pillet. Und der wiederum fand den Stoff so bühnenreif, dass er den in Dijon geborenen Komponisten Pierre-Louis Dietsch mit der Vertonung beauftragte. Und so kam es, wie es kommen musste: Im November 1842 wurde Dietschs französischer Holländer unter dem Titel „Le vaisseau fantôme“ an der Pariser Oper uraufgeführt. Wagner hingegen hatte sich noch bis zum 2. Januar 1843 zu gedulden, bis seine überarbeitete Endfassung der Pariser Urversion in Dresden zum vollen Erfolg wurde. Heute ist das Werk Dauerbrenner auf allen Spielplänen. Dietschs „Geisterschiff“ sollte dafür nach nur wenigen Aufführungen schnell und für die nächsten 170 Jahre in Vergessenheit geraten.
Jetzt ist es wieder aufgetaucht! Dank Marc Minkowski, der diese Opernrarität zusammen mit Wagners Erstentwurf mit jeweils einem fast komplett neuem Sängerensemble aufgenommen hat. Doch allein schon musikalisch und dramaturgisch liegen zwischen den beiden Werken Welten. Denn im Gegensatz zum auch psychologischen Klangreichtum Wagners lässt Dietsch keinen Zweifel aufkommen, wie vernarrt er in die Grand Opéra und das italienische Belcanto-Fach eines Rossinis war. Dementsprechend hat speziell Sally Matthews als Minna reichlich Gelegenheit, mit ihrem strahlenden Sopran effektvoll zu brillieren. Und dass der selbst regelmäßig aufschäumende Offenbach-Ton Minkowski und seinen Originalklangmusikanten liegt, versteht sich fast von selbst. Richard Wagners „Fliegenden Holländer“ von 1841 hätte man einerseits zwar nicht als Steigbügelhalter gebraucht, um sich mit dieser unbedingt hörenswerten Trouvaille zu beschäftigen. Andererseits kann Minkowski auch bei Wagner zeigen, wie sich trotz hochgradiger Transparenz des Klangbilds ungemeine Tiefe erzeugen lässt. Und mit dem lyrischen Bass-Bariton Evgeny Nikitin, der seit 2012 das Image als „Bad Boy Bayreuths“ hat, erlebt man in der Titelrolle einen Stimmschauspieler, der das Konflikthafte genauso ´lebt´ wie Ingela Brimberg als Senta.

Guido Fischer

OperaLounge.de

MAUE WOGEN

Während Dietschs Oper (Le Vaisseau fantôme) ihre Karriere im Januar 1843 bereits beendete, startete jene von Wagner die ihrige just am 2. Januar 1843 im Königlichen Sächsischen Hoftheater in Dresden. Unter den Sängern der Premiere behält man bis heute den Namen Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrients in Erinnerung, die als Senta triumphierte. Scheinbar durch seinen Pariser Misserfolg angestachelt, vollendete Richard Wagner seine Komposition in sehr kurzer Zeit, nämlich bereits am 5. November 1841. Das in drei Akte geteilte (und heute auch so gespielte) Werk war ursprünglich an einem Stück gedacht. Dies erklärt auch, weshalb die Motive, die heute den ersten und zweiten Akt abschließen, sich so stark in den Prelüden des zweiten und dritten Akts wiederfinden. Oft heißt es, die Uraufführung des Werks sei aufgrund ihrer stark begrenzten Mittel ein Misserfolg gewesen. An allen vier Abenden hörte das Publikum jedoch, wenn nicht unbedingt aufmerksam, so doch ver­ständnisvoll zu. Außerdem hat Richard Wagner dieser Oper seine Nominierung zum zweiten Kapellmeister der Stadt zu verdanken. Nach eini­gen Aufführungen in Riga und Kassel, anschlie­ßend in Berlin, wurde Der fliegende Holländer erst 1852 wieder in Zürich gespielt. Zu dieser Gelegenheit wurde die Partitur stellenweise über­arbeitet. Unter den nachfolgenden Abänderungen ist die von 1860 wohl die einschneidendste: In etwa zwanzig Takten wird am Schluss das mit Senta verbundene Erlösungsthema erneut auf­gegriffen. Diese Korrektur veranlasste Wagner dazu, auch seine Ouvertüre teilweise umzuschrei­ben. 1864 überarbeitete er schließlich Sentas Ballade, und auch später dachte er unentwegt über Verbesserungen nach; viele wurden jedoch nicht umgesetzt. In Frankreich kam das Werk 1893 erstmals in Lille auf die Bühne, 1896 dann in Rouen und 1897 – endlich – in Paris (allerdings nicht in der Großen Oper sondern in der Opéra-Comique). Damit entdeckte Frankreich erst mit großer Verspätung jenes Werk, das bereits auf zahlreichen europäischen Bühnen (und sogar in New York) aufgeführt worden war, 1856 zum Beispiel in Prag, 1860 in Wien, 1864 in München,dann in den 1870er Jahren in London, Stockholm Brüssel, Bologna…

Diese Ausführungen von Marc Minkowski stelle ich mal als den Beleg für die kümmerliche Information im (auch mehr als diskutabel ins Deutsche übersetzten) Booklet des neuen Fliegenden Holländers in der Erstfassung 1841 bei naive voran, der unter Minkowski in Grenoble zu Beginn seiner Tournee in Sachen Wagner/Dietsch im Rahmen des Projektes vom Palazetto Bru Zane durch Europas Großstädte 2013 eingespielt wurde. Die obigen Textpassagen stammen vom Dirigenten selbst, und das ist so gut wie alles, was man über die so oft reklamierte Erstfassung findet, denn auch in Alexandre Dratwickis sehr allgemeinem Aufsatz zum Werk und zum Komponisten wird wenig Informatives ausgebreitet – viel über Dresden 1843 und später, kaum was über Paris 1841. Wie gut, dass wir die Herren Pachl und Ziemen gebeten hatten, uns etwas zu dieser Fassung zu schreiben, zumal Pachl sich werk-ausgiebig an der Runnicles-Aufführung im Winter 2013 in Berlin orientierte und Ziemen eben diese Fassung in ebenfalls diesem Jahr in Gießen dirigierte – beides ist in Operalounge.de nachzulesen, eben die Details, die man sucht, wenn es sich um eine angeblich unbekannte Fassung handelt: Ouvertüre, Senta-Balladen-Tonart, Einakt-/Dreiaktfassung, Zwischenspiele/Übergänge (Prelüden in der Übersetzung genannt…), Finale. Auch nicht, dass eigentlich Berlin der Uraufführungsort sein sollte, was sich zerschlug, aber für die Akteinteilung wichtig war. Also beschränke ich mich auf eine Bewertung der Holländer-Aufnahme (und getrennt davon der beigefügten Oper von Dietsch, Le Vaisseau fantôme) selbst.

Es ist wirklich keine gute Idee, die beiden Opern als ein Projekt in einem Kasten zu verpacken. Der Sammler wird nicht wissen, wo er sie abstellen soll, und die Koppelung tut keinem der beiden Werke Gerechtigkeit. Beide sind gültig für sich: Wagners Holländer wegen der Neuheit (wenngleich es natürlich die Erstfassung, wie auch immer modifiziert, bereits bei dhm unter Bruno Weill 2004 gab/BMG/DHM 82876 64071 2 77536 2); und Dietsch leidet unter der Verbindung zum berühmteren Wagner, weil auch er ein eigenständiges Werk geschrieben hat, das außer dem Sujet (der für ein paar beträchtliche Silberlinge vom Intendanten Pillet eingekauften Story) nicht viel gemeinsam hat. Pikant ist nur, dass Dietsch das Fiasko des Tannhäuser dirigierte, wofür er aber nichts konnte.

Nun also der Fliegende Holländer in der Fassung von 1841 unter Marc Minkowski. Ganz ehrlich – nicht überzeugend, nicht sonderlich aufregend gesungen und auch vom Orchester, den eher im früheren Repertoire behafteten Musiciens du Louvre, nicht wirklich packend gespielt. Ein Vergleich mit anderen, „regulären“ Aufnahmen muss gestattet sein, und da sind von Keilberth bis Janowski doch manche spannender, onomatopoetischer, unmittelbarer. Ich finde die Original-Ouvertüre hier nicht wirklich elementar, die lettischen Chöre zahm und klanglich das Ganze auch nicht so weiträumig, wie ich das bei einer Neuaufnahme erwarten würde. Und im Vergleich mit dem Berliner Konzert Runnicles` (1841 Version, modifiziert) halte ich den Klangkörper der DOB für überzeugender.

Zumal auch nicht wirklich so toll gesungen wird. Evgeny Nikitin bleibt doch recht robust, weniger menschlich-differenziert mit seinem Holländer, und ich hätte erwartet, mit einem so an Details gewöhnten Dirigenten auch eine Hinwendung zur Gestaltung eben aus der Sicht von Weber oder Marschner zu erleben, wo ist sonst der Sinn, ein solches an Barockes gewöhntes Orchester zu verwenden? Ingela Brimberg war mir als Sängerin neu (ehemals Göteborg Oper), ich finde sie jugendlich-frisch, aber stimmlich/ausdrucksmäßig nicht wirklich besonders. Sie macht ihre Sache gut, aber man fände sie auch an einem Stadttheater (pardon), immerhin nähert sie sich einem Sopranideal einer französischen Koloratursängerin jener Zeit (etwa Julie Dorus-Gras), wie sie Dietsch verwendete. Eric Cutter gibt einen hellstimmigen Donald mit einiger Präsenz. Mika Kares macht Papa Donald zu einem Mittelpunkt an Zuverlässigkeit, aber eigentlich sind es Bernard Richter und die immer noch wunderbare Helene Schneiderman (lange eingedeutscht in Stuttgart), die die idiomatische Ehre hochhalten und glänzen, die Schneiderman vor allem mit diesem schönen pastosen Ton, den ich immer an ihr geliebt habe.

Das ist alles sicher nicht der Jubel, den man bei einem so verdienstvollen Projekt der Gegenüberstellung zweier gleich-thematischer Opern erwarten würde, was mich auch grämt. Ich hatte mir mehr erhofft, zumal eben die Ausstattung des Beiheftes nicht wirklich ein Gewinn ist. Aber wir haben eine deutsche Libretto-Übersetzung der Dietsch-Oper, das ist schon mal was. Die Würdigung eben dieser Welt-Ersteinspielung erfolgt gesondert in Operalounge.de. Aber ich muss auch – widerwillig! – einräumen, dass die mit hohen Erwartungen avisierten Aufnahmen im Rahmen des Projektes des Palazetto Bru Zane zum Teil nur dünn gestrickt sind (je weiter es auf die Neuzeit zugeht), es fehlt einigen doch sehr an Glanz.

Geerd Heinsen

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Technical Specifications
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Remarks
Original version (Paris 1841) played on period instruments.
Coupled with the French opera Le Vaisseau Fantôme by Pierre-Louis Dietsch