Let’s eliminate imperfections right away. Embedded in a gloomy setting – and noisy with its stream that competes with the orchestra’s pianissimi – the staging of Laurent Delvert and his unimaginative acting will hardly be remembered. Likewise, a few mediocre vocal performances, painfully managing to cross the ramp, leave the listener perplexed, especially in Act I.
And let’s focus much more on the wonders of this French premiere of Görge the dreamer by Alexander von Zemlinsky (1871-1942) offered by the Opéra de Nancy, to be discovered soon in Dijon (1). Never given during the lifetime of its composer, the work would nevertheless deserve to be included in the repertoire of any theater wishing to offer its audience the treasures of a constantly inspired score, where the greatest tenderness rubs shoulders with the most sumptuous fires.
Make dreams come true
Dreaming of seeing reality get in tune with the fairy tales that illuminate his prosaic daily life, the villager Görge will have to follow an initiatory and painful journey to find (perhaps) in this lower world the answer to his aspirations. She will take the face of love for Gertraud, a condemned woman, accused of witchcraft, whose hidden nobility he alone guesses. Would she not be the princess who appeared to him in a dream?
→ PORTRAIT. Rebecca Tong, the maestra
Helena Juntunen, powerful voice but full of nuances, charisma embodies this eternal feminine who frightens narrow souls and fills poets. She “imposes” on the fragile and moving Görge of Daniel Brenna, a bit abused by the valor of her role … No danger, however, in the superb performance of baritone Wieland Satter or in the brief but powerful interventions of soprano Aurélie Jarjaye.
An exceptional baguette
These soloists, the excellent choristers of the Operas of Nancy and Dijon and the instrumentalists of the Opera of Nancy are placed under the direction of Marta Gardolinska. It only takes a few bars of the orchestral introduction – a tribute to the first symphony of Gustav Mahler, the work’s sponsor – to taste the immense talent of the Polish musician living in Vienna.
It will flourish throughout the performance, especially in Act II, tense, feverish, overwhelming: the conductor controls the outbursts, mood swings and burning paroxysms, without ever “drowning” the singers. The instrumentalists compete for excellence, as if the sap of this refined and poignant music was flowing through their veins. And we forget that the health crisis has imposed a reduced orchestral workforce, so much he sings, throbs and blazes.