Monday, July 29, 2019

THE MIRACLE OF HELIANE at BARD SummerScape: Review By Polly Guerin THE POWER OF LOVE TO CONQUER ALL!

"Botstein and BARD SummerScape shows courage and great imagination, honoring operas that larger institutions are content to ignore"--Time Out New York
     Indeed, BARD Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, committed to reviving important but neglected
operas, presents this year's immersion in "Korngold with the American premiere of THE MIRACLE OF HELIANE ("Das Wunder der Heliane") the grand opera that Erich Wolfgang Korngold considered his masterpiece. A not-to-be-missed extravaganza the music soars with melodic ecstasy under the baton of Leon Botstein, music director of the American Symphony orchestra with a fully staged new production by German director Christian Rath.  
       The next scheduled performances in the Sosnoff Theater, are Friday, August 2 at 4 pm and Sunday, August 4 at 2 pm. The SummerScape Coach from New York City is available on both dates.  Contact the Box Office for tickets and coach information at 845.758.7900.      

THE MIRACLE OF HELIANE (1927),  An allegorical tale, is set in an unnamed totalitarian state in which love, lust and hate emerge in an intricate, erotic triangle between a ruthless despot, The Ruler, portrayed with grim consequences by the brilliant bass baritone, Alfred Walker.  His unrequited passion  focuses on his beautiful and neglected wife, Helaine, with Lithuanian soprano Ausrine Stundyte in the title role. She specializes in strong female personalities and does not disappoint as the tortured Helaine. The clarity and sheer volume of her voice is stunning and magically engages our listening pleasure with her soaring soprano. She is put on trail but can she perform a miracle and bring her lover back to life? Then, too, there is the Stranger with internationally acclaimed tenor, Daniel Brenna, bringing the complications of love into the story. Sung in German with English supertitles. All this with captivating Judges in fierce red costumes and the large Bard Festival Chorale adding drama to the epic and sequences of  dancers interpreting emotional charged scenes in choreographed interludes.   Erich WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957)   

whose lush romanticism would define the
quintessential sound in Hollywood movies began his career as a classical prodigy in Vienna, becoming a highly respected opera composer at just 19.  Yet, despite his ensuing successes, The Miracle of Helaine was dogged with difficulties from the outset. First caught up in the musical politics of the time, then banned by the Nazis, Helaine all but disappeared from the repertoire, and still almost a hundred years later, the opera never been staged in the United States until Bard's production.  This represents to opera lovers and the music world at large a considerable loss. Helaine features "Ich ging zu ihm," one of Korngold's best loved arias, styling the opera "a huge triumphant song of love and liberation on the grandest scale. Brendan G. Carroll, President of the International Korngold Society explains, "Helaine is not only arguably the composer's greatest work," but also one that stands "among the masterpieces of Romantic Opera."
      Ta Ta Darlings! Everyone stood up with thunder applauds at yesterday's Sunday
afternoon performance. The cast on stage was in top form, the music was glorious, the
singers sensational and the chorale and orchestra beyond measure, just pure, pure excellence. 
Be there next weekend for an experience of a lifetime that even the Metropolitan Opera could envy. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's other Blogs at www.pollytalk.com. 
       

1 comment:

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