* Notes *
The Saturday performance of Le Nozze di Figaro at Staatsoper Unter den Linden was utterly delightful. The production was simple, but cunning, and the scene changes happened fluidly. Herbert Kapplmüller's set was descriptive without being too elaborate, and Yoshi'o Yabara's costumes were in keeping with it.
The orchestra sounded pleasant under Frank Beermann, though there were some synchronization problems between the playing and singing. There were more than a few horn mistakes, but most of these were drowned out by the strings. The cast was very even, and the singing lovely. The weakest was Ulrike Helzel (Cherubino), who looked the role, but lacked sweetness, especially in her higher range. Alexander Vinogradov was funny and sympathetic as Figaro, and Sylvia Schwartz (Susanna) was likewise. Arttu Kataja was a brash, swaggering Count, and Anna Samuil also did well as the Countess, her intonation was fine and she had some very pretty moments.
* Tattling *
The audience spoke during much of the performance, and watch alarms rang at each hour. I was overwhelmed by the heavily perfumed woman who sat next to me in Tier 3, Right Middle Row 4 Seat 19. After the intermission, her date switched seats with her, and perhaps he did not enjoy her fragrance either, as he angled himself toward me.
After the show, we were convinced to go on a tour of the opera house with our Belgian friends. The hour-long tour gave us a bit of history about the opera house and took us from the Königsloge, past the dressing rooms, back stage, into the Dienstloge, and all the way back to the Apollo-Saal. It was impressive to be able to stand on the stage and to preview the set for Agrippina, which we saw the next day.