Wednesday, January 18, 2017

It's Tough Being Young: Media Roundup, Das klagende Lied at San Francisco Symphony

"Gus" Mahler

I looked forward to the MTT/SFS semi-staged performance of Mahler's Das klagende Lied with great anticipation. While there were some darned good things about it - the orchestra's playing and the singing - I would not call the evening a success, for reasons I examined in great detail in my SFCV review.

Here's what I have found in the way of reviews. Joshua Kosman and I, with no collusion or discussion whatsoever, wrote essentially the same review. Omitted from my review, because Michael Steinberg's program notes reference Schoenberg's great oratorio, is my pre-performance observation noting that Das klagende Lied sounds an awful lot like Gurrelieder lite. (And when will SFS get to performing Gurrelieder? It is a fantastic piece and surely right in MTT's wheelhouse.)

It was nice to see Brian Mulligan at SFS; he has been a steadfastly outstanding presence at the opera since his breakout performance as Richard Nixon in Nixon in China. The baritone part in the Mahler, though, is tiny, not more than five minutes or so long; I can think of a few reasons to pay for a star for such a tiny part, including his resemblance to tenor Michael König, his general excellence, and the desire to have a full cast of stars.

Something I wish I'd mentioned: the fabulousness of the very noisy offstage banda.
  • Joshua Kosman, Chronicle
  • Georgia Rowe, Santa Cruz Sentinel ("Indeed, the musical values tended to outshine the visuals throughout the performance." Right you are.)
  • Allan Ulrich, FT (Link is to a search that will turn up the review; no direct link because I'm not a subscriber...)
  • Lisa Hirsch, SFCV
  • Richard S. Ginell, CVNA
  • Opera Tattler
  • Cedric, SFist (Lotfi was totally right to try to get MTT into the pit across the street. Agree completely about Sasha Cooke in Songs of a Wayfarer.)


Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure I recall that SFS has done Gurrelieder, at least once. Blomstedt, maybe 30 years ago? Anyway, a long time ago.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Right on all counts, and here is Bernheimer's review with the details.