PERFORMER: Dorothea Röschmann, Katharina Kammerloher, Hanno Müller-Brachmann, Werner Güra, Daniela Bruera, Roman Trekel; Berlin State Opera Chorus; Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim; dir. Doris Dörrie (Berlin, 2002)
CATALOGUE NO: 2052238
This is a spirited performance, with many admirable features, Daniel Barenboim is here at his best, conducting a penetrating, idiomatic account of this astonishing score, and never missing a chance for pathos or wit.
The soloists are slightly uneven, but Hanno Müller-Brachmann, the leading lyrical baritone of today, is tremendous as Guglielmo, though without upstaging his colleagues. How many opera-singers could strip to white Y-fronts and still be so convincing?
Werner Güra, the Ferrando, has a great voice, but is only a tolerable actor, and lacks charisma. The Fiordiligi of Dorothea Röschmann is another electrifying performance, by far the best I have seen from her. And Roman Trekel’s Don Alfonso, youthful, cold, scheming, obviously destined for top management, is an alarming portrayal.
The director, Doris Dörrie, has almost never seen an opera, which in Germany nowadays is a prerequisite for directing one. She sees Così in cinematic terms, so that DVD viewers probably get a better deal than theatre-goers, since we don’t have to see all segments of the stage all the time, as the audience did.
She sets it in the 1970s, and there are some good hippy gags, but this pair of girls would have been far too experienced to be taken in by any of the male intrigues. All told, the undercurrent of powerful emotions is short-changed in this production. Michael Tanner