Camilla Tilling

Paris Opera's 2008-2009 Season

September 6-11 2008: Eugene Onegin
September 24- November 2 2008: Rigoletto
October 11- November 2 2008: The Bartered Bride
October 13- November 12 2008: Cunning Little Vixen
October 30- December 3 2008: Tristan und Isolde
November 17- December 23 2008: Die Zauberflöte
November 25- December 21 2008: Fidelio
January 17-30 2009: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
January 24- February 8 2009: Yvonne, princesse de Bourgogne
January 29- March 4 2009: Madama Butterfly
February 27- March 22 2009: Idomeneo
February 28- March 26 2009: Werther
April 4- May 8 2009: Macbeth
April 10- May 23 2009: Un ballo in maschera
May 4-18 2009: The Makropulos Affair
May 20- June 5 2009: Tosca
June 13-21 2009: Demofoonte
June 18- July 2009: King Roger

Riccardo Muti conducts Demofoonte. Waltraud Meier sings Isolde opposite of Clifton Forbis. Paul Groves sings the title role of Idomeneo, with Joyce DiDonato as Idamante and Camilla Tilling as Ilia. Rolando Villazon shares the role of Werther with Marcus Haddock. Deborah Voigt shares the role of Amelia with Angela Brown and Ulrica Elena Manistina.

2008-2009 Schedule | Official Site

Messiah at SFS

Messiah* Notes *
 Of Händel's 29 oratorios, Messiah is far and away the most performed, and is the composer's most famous work. Messiah has returned again to San Francisco Symphony for a couple of performances, conducted by Ragnar Bohlin, who is the new director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Bohlin made his debut conducting at Davies Hall yesterday. The chorus sounded lovely. The orchestra, on the other hand, did not quite have it together for the soprano recitative right after the "Pifa." The violins were slightly fast, or else the cello and organ were slow. The trumpet sounded especially fine in the bass air "The Trumpet Shall Sound."

The bass soloist, Patrick Carfizzi, was underpowered, he did sound nice when only accompanied by harpsichord. Some of his transitions were slightly muddy. Shawn Mathey, the tenor, lacked heft, and at times he was also difficult to hear. Mezzo-soprano Tove Dahlberg has a much brighter voice, with good resonance and depth. She did have a little too much vibrato for her higher notes in "O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion." The soprano, Camilla Tilling, had good control of both her vibrato and volume, and though sometimes strained, never sounded shrill. All the soloists had fine diction.

* Tattling *
The symphony audience was well-behaved, even for this very famous work that must have drawn people that do not normally go to Davies Hall. I did hear two watch alarms during "I Know that My Redeemer Liveth." However, many people did leave early. The middle part of the Center Terrace was completely full for the first half of the performance, and there were noticeably less people for the second half.  A few people also left after the famous "Hallelujah" chorus, which also garnered the only applause during actual piece.

Camilla Tilling looked beautiful in a satin pearl grey dress with a ruched bodice. Tove Dahlberg is possibly the only performer I have ever seen carry off wearing a strapless gown. Her posture is good and her shoulders are pretty. It must have been cold though, for she put on a wrap for the second half.

Große Messe No. 17 in C minor K427

Masscminor* Notes *
Ingo Metzmacher conducted Stravinsky's Orpheus and Mozart's C minor Mass last weekend at San Francisco Symphony. The former is ballet music, I had no ear for it, I found it rather dull, though it had some pretty moments in the harp part. Perhaps it would make more sense in the context of ballet. As for the Mass, I enjoyed it thoroughly. The work was edited by Monika Holl with Karl-Heinz Köhler, with the Credo, Et incarnatus est, Sanctus, and Osanna reconstructed and completed by Helmut Eder. The lead soprano, Camilla Tilling, seemed a bit nervous at the beginning of the Friday night performance, but was calmer on Saturday night. She had good control of her vibrato, but some of her higher and lower notes were not clear. She was much more strained in this part than in the role of Susanna she appeared in last summer. The other soprano, Sarah Fox, had a lot of vibrato and more dark hues in her voice. I found tenor Timothy Robinson somewhat lackluster, and I couldn't hear him that well. Bass-baritone John Relyea only sang at the end in the Benedictus, by then his voice was cold, he was also somewhat quiet after waiting on-stage for 45 minutes.

* Tattling *
This is the first time I've sat in the rear boxes at San Francisco Symphony. During Stravinsky on Friday, some people wandered into the box, talking as they came in, but they were confused and in the wrong place.

We wanted to hear the Mozart again, but not the Stravinsky, so we waited in the lobby and read during the first half of the Saturday night performance. When we went to our seats in the second row of the orchestra level, a middle-aged woman in B 111 had her foot propped up on my seat. Her ankle was wrapped up, so perhaps it was sprained. I mentioned that B 112 was my seat, and she rolled her eyes and only unapologetically moved. My companion gave her a cutting look, and her companion might have scolded her, because some angry words were exchanged between the two of them. Thankfully, they were both quiet the entire performance. It just confused me, I do not believe I was outside of my rights to want to sit in the seat my ticket was for, and there was no reason to be hostile.

Se vuol ballere, signor Contino

FigaroactiA revival of Le Nozze di Figaro opened last Saturday, directed by John Copley. The production is of the standard traditional type, the setting is a Spanish villa, curiously there is no set designer credited. There are four sets, one for each act, none painfully elaborate, no moving parts, everything is quiet and simple. This is not to say the sets were not beautiful nor to suggest they were modernist in any way. The costumes were also 18th century, they were not striking but also not gaudy.

The cast is rather impressive, both vocally and dramatically. The only errors I noticed were minor. Camilla Tilling (Susanna) had her debut at San Francisco Opera with this performance. Her voice is pretty, though she has a bit of a raw edge. She cracked just slightly during Venite, inginocchiatevi in Act II, and she and Relyea seemed slightly off from the music in Act I, but just for a few seconds.

Peter Mattei sings Count Almaviva well, I have never heard him in another role, but I did hear him in Le Nozze at Bayerische Staatsoper. His voice is pleasing and sweet. He acts well even though he is terribly tall and gangly, he manages to look elegant. I first saw this production in 1997 with Bo Skovhus as the Count, so I'm a bit spoilt. Skovhus is amazing.

John Relyea is slightly more awkward as Figaro, though he is not as tall, I believe it is something about how he holds his hands. His voice is rich, he can hit all the notes in the lower range with enough ease to be quite pleasing. He is not terribly subtle in his shading, but it is Figaro, so this is fine. It is straightforward music.

Ruth Ann Swenson was a marvelous Countess Almaviva. Her voice is cold, sweet, and bright, never shrill, with great control. Her carriage is also good, clear even from the back of the balcony.

The audience was appalling. Apparently it is too difficult for certain people to arrive on time, and in the balcony, the ushers cordon off the seating and then watch the operas themselves. This leaves tardy and disgruntled patrons to wait in the standing room area. They are often disoriented, out of breath, and not particularly polite. They speak and one man decided that he was going to wedge himself between me and my companion. He apologized as he put his elbow between us, this was during Figaro's cavatina in Act I. I suggested that next time, he might wait until the music was over before he inserted himself between people. I do not enjoy talking during the opera, and what's worse this didn't make him leave. There wasn't enough room for him there, so my companion and I spread out just a little more so that he had to remove his elbow from the railing. He was pretty close to me, we were touching, but he was pressed up against my companion, and she had to kick him away. He wanted to intimidate us into making room for him, and possibly he did not know we were together. It was unpleasant but also humorous. He finally left after Act I, when he was seated.

During Act III, a young blonde wearing noisy high-heeled mules was late after intermission. She was uncomfortable and walked around a lot and also spoke to her friend, once loudly exclaiming "Totally!"

San Francisco Opera needs to keep late people in their own special section. Los Angeles Opera has a telecast in the lobby, and they simply don't let you in at Bayerische Staatsoper if you are late.