Glorious ensembles in Dutch National Opera’s new Tannhäuser

Wagner: Tannhäuser

At Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam on the 6th of April, 2019

The unveiling of Dutch National Opera’s new Tannhäuser was a very good night for Wagner, chiefly thanks to the magnificent orchestra and chorus. Director Christof Loy offered an interesting take on the singing knight torn between carnal rapture with the goddess Venus and his socially acceptable love for Elisabeth, and there was some fine solo singing. But it was the spellbinding colours and three-dimensional splendour of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the house chorus that swept one away.

Full review on Bachtrack.








Tristan und Isolde smoulders at Dutch National Opera

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

Dutch National Opera, 18 January 2018


Tristan and Isolde on a German stamp issued in 1933

After its co-producers in Paris and Rome, it is Dutch National Opera’s turn to present director Pierre Audi’s shadow-clad Tristan und Isolde. In Amsterdam Audi’s lucid visuals complemented a strong, balanced cast. Conductor Marc Albrecht kept a lyrical Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra on a concentrated simmer for the full four hours. This was a Tristan und Isolde to treasure.

Full review on Bachtrack.



Wrong rep sinks opera evening at the Concertgebouw

Devos, Blondelle, Oliemans/NOB/Marković: Mozart, Bellini, Verdi et al.

Concertgebouw, 12th July 2017


The people deserve good opera. Even at popular “greatest hits” concerts, the quality should be as high as budget and availability allow. At this “Robeco SummerNight at the Opera” the audience had to make do with a couple of nuggets and a series of mismatches between repertoire and performers.

Full review on Bachtrack.

A clipped Walküre in Amsterdam

Wagner: Die Walküre, Act III

Concertgebouw, 9th December 2016


Wotan Bidding Farewell to Brunhilde (1908) by Ferdinand Leeke

Let’s start by getting a couple of gripes out of the way. First, the final act of Die Walküre does not constitute a full-length concert, even with a distinguished cast and orchestra, and with animated drawings fluttering on a giant screen.

Presumably, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, foremost in the land and one of the best in the world, could not muster the budget for a complete Walküre — a worrisome fact, if this was indeed the case.

Full review on Opera Today.

Rette dich, Tristan!

Tristan und Isolde, Prelude to Act I

Opening bars to Tristan und Isolde

The NTR ZaterdagMatinee concerts at the Concertgebouw are an intrinsic part of classical Amsterdam. Their season opened last Saturday with conductor Jaap van Zweden returning to continue his Wagner series, this time with Tristan und Isolde. He and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic triumphed, inspite of one late and one terribly late cast cancellation. Thrillingly, Jennifer Wilson was as vocally complete an Isolde as you could wish for. You can read my review for Bachtrack here. A radio broadcast of the concert is available on demand for the next three months.