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”En gripende og dypt gjennomtenkt forestilling.” Regine Müller, Opernwelt

"So, we had colour, spectacle, poignant story-telling, glorious music, and extremely fine singing form the likes of young Rachel Nicholls as a passionate Leonore and the experienced In-Sung Sim as a blistering Rocco." Ken Walton, The Scotsman

"While Nicholls's touching earnestness highlighted Leonore's knife-edge situation, Daniel Kirch captured Florestan's exhaustion, fear and exhalation with harrowing immediacy." Yehuda Shapiro, Opera

"Rachel Nicholls received a standing ovation for her Leonore." Yehuda Shapiro, Opera
"Fint kammerspill. Tradisjonell og renskåren versjon av Beethovens eneste opera." Ida Habbestad, Aftenposten


Opera, februar 2014:

Beethoven's Fidelio

This Fidelio put the orchestra, quite literally, at the centre of things. For Bergen National Opera's new production (November 2), the Lithuanian director Oskaras Korsunovas bravely went head to head with the 'unoperatic' aspects of both the score and the performing venue - Grieghallen, first and foremost a concert hall, and home to the Bergen Philharmonic, an ensemble born five years before Beethoven. Eschewing glosses and elisions, this was not a provocative or even especially thought-provoking production, but its honesty and clarity proved refreshing.

Gintaras Makarevicius's décor mirrored the concrete-walled arena of the auditorium with a terraced structure on four levels. Orchestra and conductor were placed on the main stage, above them, a row of barred glass doors confined the prisoners, while the top storey housed the petit-bourgeois idyll enjoyed by Rocco - far more comfy in his cardigan than in his gaoler's jacket - and the polka-dotted Marzelline, prissily spraying her geraniums as she dreamed of married bliss. Beneath the orchestra and descending into the empty pit, wide steps provided the setting for Pizarro's aria and Florestan's dungeon.

In an acoustic more refined and spacious than bristling with theatrical immediacy, the luminous-sounding Bergen Philharmonic brought a special poignancy to Beethoven's characteristic wind sonorities. Andrew Litton, the orchestra's musical director, favoured dynamism, flow and a certain elegance over portentous heroics, and ensured that the singers - nearly all making role debuts - were never overwhelmed.

Rachel Nicholls received a standing ovation for her Leonore. Though neither sumptuous nor laser-like, her gratifying youthful tone rocketed into the auditorium and she mastered all the intricacies and vagaries of the vocal line. While Nicholls's touching earnestness highlighted Leonore's knife-edge situation, Daniel Kirch captured Florestan's exhaustion, fear and exhalation with harrowing immediacy, his essentially soft-grained tenor remained well under control, rising convincingly to the strenuous climaxes. Aleksej Dedov, the sharp-suited (and overcoated) Pizarro, was rich of timbre, but lacked a villainous cutting edge. In-Sung Sim, perhaps too unambiguously sympathetic as Rocco, impressed with both mellow, stylish singing and lively, natural delivery of his dialogue. Trine Wilsberg Lund made a vivid and precise Marzelline who, having lost Fidelio, reclaimed poor Jaquino (the mellifluous Thorbjørn Gulbrandsøy) in the opera's final moments by petulantly picking a hair off his immaculate green uniform. Clive Bayley - resplendent in white as the positive to Pizarro's negative - resonated benevolently and authoritatively as Don Fernando, while the glowing paeans of the consolidated Edvard Grieg Choir and Bergen Philharmonic Choir, costumed as a kind of rainbow United Nations, contrasted with the arresting intimacy and contained joy of the earlier chorus of Prisoners. 

Yehuda Shapiro


 Foto: Magnus Skrede



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