Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Sparkling Haydn Orlando Berlin
Currently I'm luxuriating in the superb performance of Haydn's Orlando Paladino as heard on 22 March at the Philharmonie, Berlin, conducted by Nicholas Harnoncourt, perhaps its most passionate champion. Kurt Streit is Orlando, Jane Archibald (lovely), James Taylor(real personality), Michelle Breedt and Jonathan Lemalu and others. Sparkling, sharp playing, stunning sound quality, excellent video.... It "feels" almost as close to being there live.
One of the things I like about this performance is that it's period in spirit, not form. Modernish instruments (apart from harpsichord and "tinny" percussion) and no counter tenors. Yet it's baroque in the sense of inventive playfulness. Having watched it nearly three times now what 's grown on me is the lively pace. Yes, the opera goes on and on but the slapstick moments are deft : James Taylor's face is wonderfully mobile, he's wonderful to watch. There's a mind inside this man, he's a natural comic. Jane Archibald, too, has an expressive face which lights up as she sings. Finally I got round to watching the interview with Harnoncourt. The music, he says, comments on what's being said, on different levels. Haydn's a country boy who grew up with different types of music around him. So when he goes off to the city, he can wow with the most deliciously inventive arias, but he's natural and down to earth.
Harnoncourt goes on to describe Orlando Paladino as a nuthouse where Alcina is the boss shrink who uses drugs to snuff stuff out. That and more interesting comments about the value of creative free thinking etc. Three hours of fun which you can listen to over and over for two days and it costs less than 10 Euro !
Catch it too on the Berliner Philharmoniker website http://dch.berliner-philharmoniker.de
Go to "Digital concert hall". The site is very professional and polished, but, like a BMW, it drives you, not the other way round. Takes some getting used to its torque but extremely good value! Please keep following this blog for more Berliner-phil concerts. Thganks to the site the Philharmonie is now my "local" concert hall !