Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mayr, Schaller, Staatsheaters Braunschweig|
Johann Simon Mayr: Fedra
Get It For The Work
James S. Eisenberg | 06/30/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fine opera. It is both noble in language and highly entertaining. Mayr clearly always thought about the meaning of the texts he was setting and despite adherence to most of the "convenienze" (one thinks most immediately of a 'travesti' hero) , this is a convincing operatic drama. Mayr's orchestral harmonies and choral writing are rich and rewarding. The title character is the best drawn in the opera, and her psychological twists and turns are convincing and surprisingly modern. Complex characters with a nasty edge, such as Phaedra, Medea, and Athaliah seemed to bring out the best in the composer. Speaking of Athaliah, Mayr's ATALIA (1822) shares a final scene with FEDRA. Although the harmonization and orchestration is different the three principal melodies that form the final scenes of Fedra and Atalia are identical ! (It is a pity that the fine performance of ATALIA on the Guild label, starring the sensational American Mezzo Rebecca Martin is lost in some kind of legal limbo.)
Now to the performance. Capucine Chiaudani in the title role is very uneven. If you go to You Tube , you will find really fine performances of scenes from OTELLO and TOSCA from her. What is wrong here is that the part lies uncomfortably low. It is really a mezzo-soprano role, and although she makes a conscientious effort with the coloratura, this is clearly not her 'fach'. Much of the singing here is very strained, but she is an appropriately strong dramatic presence,
The rest of the cast makes a more rounded impression. Luckily, the two other large roles, Teseo and Ippolito are superbly handled by Tomasz Zagorski and Rebecca Nelsen respectively. The smaller roles are very strongly cast.
Gerd Schaller is the excellent conductor. He keeps things moving but also provides lovely detailing.
The sound recording is excellent, although there are a lot of extraneous stage noises in this live performance.(Applause omitted.)
There is a libretto in Italian only.
Although not really relevant to the recording, the photos of the stage production in the booklet and on the cover look like the very worst sort of deconstructionist drivel. Apparently this is the way things are in the German opera houses these days. The staging looks awfully ugly !"