Saturday, April 27, 2013

Goerne Sings Wagner

SF Symphony photo IMG_20130425_195407_zps590c3df4.jpgThursday evening I heard baritone Matthias Goerne sings excerpts from Der Fliegende Holländer & Die Walküre with the San Francisco Symphony, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. Mr. Goerne makes a distinctive, beautifully dark, viscous sound. Even though he takes frequent breaths, he always maintains a long, connected line. "Die Frist is um" from Der Fliegende Holländer sounded ghoulish & brooding. His singing was velvety & tender in the quiet moments of Wotan's Farewell. His diction was mushy, & my concert companion joked that he only seems to be have 2 vowels. Mr. Goerne did not act his scenes. He makes circular swaying motions as if he is molding the sound inside his body before releasing it. The orchestra under Maestro Eschenbach played both very softly & very loudly. Mr. Goerne sang his selections from memory, & his voice merged with the overall texture rather than rising above it.

The 2nd half of the program was Dvořák's New World Symphony, which Maestro Eschenbach led without a score. His movements are eccentric, & he sometimes seems to be conducting along with the orchestra rather than directing it. The strings were shimmering, though the orchestral balances felt unstructured. Maestro Eschenbach lingered on one of the 1st movement's secondary themes played by the solo flute & then the violins. He elongated the famous second movement. The 3rd movement had a rhythmically off-kilter feel. The viola section played a nicely coordinated passage in the 4th movement.

SF Symphony Patrons photo IMG_20130425_195018_zpscb84d6b4.jpgThe audience enjoyed Dvořák, applauding & even whistling after the 1st movement, then giving the concert a standing ovation. A patron in premier orchestra left quickly during the 4th movement. The gentleman next to me made involuntary throat-clearing noises frequently. He sounded like a dog having a bad dream, & many glanced in his direction throughout the evening.

§ Eschenbach Conducts Dvořák
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
Matthias Goerne, baritone
San Francisco Symphony

"Die Frist is um" from The Flying Dutchman

Wotan’s Farewell from Die Walküre

Symphony No. 9, From the New World

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 8:00pm
Davies Symphony Hall

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