sparkling soprano makes her an effective Matilde, effortlessly working her vocal wiles in order to allay Corradino’s macho posturing; her delivery of the florid final rondo is spot-on. Matched with exceptional coloratura facility, Victoria Yarovaya’s warm contralto finds ideal employment in the trouser role of Edoardo, son of Corradino’s sworn enemy Raimondo, sung with dignity by the bass Shi Zong.
There are characterful buffo performances from Giulio Mastrototaro as the down-at-heel poet Isidoro, Emmanuel Franco as Corradino’s doctor Aliprando, and Ricardo Seguel as his henchman, Ginardo. Lamia Beuque brings a richly lyrical quality to the scheming Countess.
The orchestra is skilful, the chorus more than capable, and the conductor José Miguel Pérez-Sierra sees to it that the comic-grotesque spirit of the piece registers. There’s a little bit of stage and audience noise. An Italian-only libretto is available on the Naxos website. george hall
The Freischütz Project Johanni van Oostrum (Agathe), Chiara Skerath (Ännchen), Stanislas de Barbeyrac (Max), Daniel Schmutzhard (Ottokar), Anas Séguin (Kilian), Vladimir Baykov (Caspar), Thorsten Grümbel (Kuno), Christian Immler (Hermit/Voice of Samiel), Clément Dazin (Samiel), Accentus, Insula Orchestra, c. Laurence Equilbey. Erato 01 90295 109547 (one CD plus bonus DVD, 90 minutes) As the title suggests, this is not a regular performance of Weber’s opera: the main event would appear to be the CD, which includes roughly half the opera, leaving out (for example) all the dialogue and quite a lot of music, including Caspar’s drinking song, the Bridesmaids’ chorus and half of the Act 3 finale (which starts at the entrance of the Hermit). Itself described as a ‘highlights edition’, and officially a bonus, the DVD includes the dialogue and restores some (not all) of the missing music: the whole Act 3 finale, for instance, is heard; yet, conversely, the DVD omits the overture.
surprisingly staid and short on electricity— even the famous overture is routine. Though vocal standards are never less than acceptable they are rarely special. The choral singing is clean and generally strong.
Recorded live and/or filmed at either the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées or the Rouen Opera in October and November 2019, the show is a co-production with the circus and theatre company 14:20, committed advocates of ‘la magie nouvelle’. The show itself was widely travelled and even came to London’s Barbican (in concert).
In her liner notes the conductor Laurence Equilbey makes a good deal of using period instruments in these performances, yet the overall impact is
Stanislas de Barbeyrac’s baritonalsounding Max possesses a good range but at times there’s a tendency to wander away from the notes, a fault he shares with Vladimir Baykov, an uneven Caspar whose low notes are somewhat weak. Christian Immler, who sings a generally solid Hermit, could again do with a stronger lower register. Anas Séguin swaggers nastily as the bully Kilian. Delivered in a light, bubbly tone, Chiara Skerath’s Ännchen is again neither ideally firm nor clear: cleaner articulation is needed in the alla polacca ‘Kommt ein schlanker Bursch gegangen’.
The finest vocal performance comes from Johanni van Oostrum as Agathe, her ample voice an even, high-quality instrument, her singing fluent if not ideally steady. ‘Und ob die Wolke’ is nevertheless beautifully managed. Musically, the Wolf’s Glen is exact though unexciting: a sense of increasing
Opera, May 2021