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Ensemble

Unalloyed genius

Glyndebourne's recent 'Euryanthe'
is fêted by RODERIC DUNNETT

 

Weber's Euryanthe - like Schumann's Genoveva, which it audibly influenced -- is too often dubbed a flimsy near-miss (or even a far-miss -- a thin plot, laden with improbability and chivalic nonsense : Wagner without the weight, or the meaning). What arrant nonsense. How about Luisa Miller, Trovatore, Tannhäuser? I've never agreed with views that down Euryanthe, nor did the original Viennese audience, and nor, clearly, do director Richard Jones and that most superlative of Wagnerian (and Verdian) conductors, Mark Elder.

Weber (1786-1826; he was just 39 when he died) was, musically at least, but arguably dramatically as well, an inspired theatrical genius. That his career never blossomed to produce the series of mature masterpieces that Mozart achieved (whose wife, Constanze was Weber's cousin; Weber himself had an equally devoted singer-wife, Carolina) is both his tragedy and ours.

Glyndebourne Opera House. Photo: Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Glyndebourne Opera House. Photo: Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Given the unevenness -- despite some glorious set-piece numbers -- of Weber's Oberon, shaped to a London opera tradition that hailed Barnett as the great stage composer of the day, we need to treat Euryanthe, his only entirely through-composed music drama, seriously. Euryanthe's problems are actually more evident to a German-speaking audience, which tends to dwell on some frivolities in the librettist, Helmina von Chezy's, periodically trite language. But the plot -- as Jones's Glyndebourne production has now triumphantly more than proved -- is perfectly workable.

Glyndebourne Opera House. Photo: Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Glyndebourne Opera House. Photo: Glyndebourne Festival Opera

 

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Copyright © 28 July 2002 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK

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RODERIC DUNNETT ON THE RESIGNATION OF NICHOLAS PAYNE

GLYNDEBOURNE FESTIVAL AND GLYNDEBOURNE TOURING OPERA WEBSITE

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