Just back from Saturday night’s all-Wagner Cleveland Orchestra concert, which was conducted by Franz Welser-Möst. They seemed to be having an “off” night, especially in the first half, which had the Overture to Rienzi, the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, and the preludes to Acts 1 and 3 from Lohengrin. There were fluffed notes in the brass, some intonation problems and just general disarray.
Luckily, after intermission, things picked up, with Measha Brueggergosman as the soloist in the Wesendonck Lieder. (Fashion note: her gown was a silvery, reflective flowing number, as if she had been wrapped in loose aluminum foil. She looked fab-u-lous and was doing her trademark barefoot thing. I still want to know if she was barefoot when she sang at the opening ceremonies for the Vancouver Olympics. Can any Canadians report?) Although these songs are often (mostly?) sung by sopranos, the tessitura is quite low, and they showed off Measha’s rich mid- and low register. Franz brought the orchestra down for some thrilling pianissimo playing.
The concert finished with nifty performances of the prelude to Die Meistersinger, and “The Ride of the Valkyries” from Die Walküre very cleanly played. (How often do you hear all those sixteenth notes in the violins articulated in unison.)
The weekend’s concerts were audio-recorded for a future CD release. I hope the first half was better on one of the preceding evenings.
The orchestra’s next major project is the stage performances of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, with cast imported from Franz’s outpost in Zurich. I’ll miss it, so no report from VFB.