人言比暴風可畏《彼德格林》 Stuart Skelton and Edward Gardner’s Munich Peter Grimes

Jul 9, 2022 7pm Nationaltheaer, Munich (Bavarian Opera)
Britten: Peter Grimes
Cond: Edward Gardner, Dir: Stefan Herheim
Stuart Skelton (Peter Grimes), Rachel Willis-Sørensen (Ellen), Iain Paterson (Balstrode), Konstantin Krimmel (Ned Keene)

(scroll down for English review)
華格納男高音幾乎個個都去了萊比鍚華格納節,但Stuart Skelton卻在慕尼黑唱布烈頓《彼德格林》。這個角色愈來愈被華格納男高音佔據,母語是英語的更是理所當然,我另一次現場看此劇,主角便是Stephen Gould。但和那個維也納演出相比(指揮是個駐院指揮),這個慕尼黑演出完全令我改觀。這也是我第一次現場看英國指揮Gardner,他較早前推出了一個在挪威貝爾根灌錄的同曲錄音,男高音也是Skelton。




Stuart Skelton is one of the Heldentenor that didn’t take part in the Leipzig Wagner Festival. Instead I found him in Munich doing Peter Grimes. Although the role is now frequently taken up by Wagnerians, but is it what Britten really had in mind? I last saw this opera in Vienna, with Stephen Gould in the title role and conducted by a house conductor. Edward Gardner previously released a Chandos recording from live concert performances in Bergen, also with Skelton as the tormented fisherman.

This time I felt I haven’t truly known this opera, not even with the composer’s recording. I believe Gardner was the key to such a drastic difference. He conducted the orchestra with such attention to nuances and melodic archs that I couldn’t help but think the “Four Sea Interludes” are just interludes while this is the real deal, the real symphonic drama. The Bavarian opera chorus sang so marvelously and it was only then that I realized Britten wrote the chorus part to be the real villain, even more frightful than the storm outside.

Contrary to expectations Skelton hardly ever bellowed or combatted against the raving orchestra and chorus. Instead he was overwhelmed. In his private moments this is a sorrowful soul and Skelton used his Wagnerian lungs to deliver unbelievably well sustained pianos. Not just the tenor but also the conductor deserved credit for allowing such interpretation which really made more sense than the conventional approach.

There was no explicit reimagining of the opera’s messages but Herheim already contained his message within the set. His technical mastery allowed minute changes according to the occasions, but no matter it was a courthouse, a bar or a church, the common background indicated that this is “society”. Occasionally we’re allowed a glimpse of Grimes’ mind on a secondary stage, sometimes it’s the raging sea, sometimes the unforgettable images of the deaths of apprentices. In addition to the masterful rendition of the music and singing this became the first time that I felt Peter Grimes deserved the same position with Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth. Both operas were indebted to Wozzeck but I was especially amazed that Britten achieved such emotional depth with not so modernistic means.


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