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<<  -- 2 --  Tess Crebbin    A PAPAL MUSIC TOUR

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When conducting, she says she doesn't think about gender issues; rather, her mind is intensely focused on her orchestra. She has a meticulous, no-nonsense approach to music, which turns the Munich Symphonic Orchestra into a sound experience of the best. The orchestra has some fine instrumentalists, of course, and even some finer instruments such as a 1770 cello from Vienna, but I have rarely heard them sound quite as good as they did playing for this 35-year-old conductor.

'Cornelia has an intricate understanding of her score,' says tenor James Wood who is from Galveston/Texas but has been living in Germany for the past 22 years. 'She knows precisely what sound she wants and she will keep rehearsing until she gets it.'

Cornelia von Kerssenbrock's Tosca had a deliberate, smooth orchestral sound, while her sister put on a stage setting that, as she says, should illustrate the idea that the protagonists are all caught in a spider's web from which there is no escape and that must ultimately result in death for all of them. Once Tosca has jumped to her death, a giant spider's web appears, inclusive of spider, whereas throughout the opera the spider's web (without spider) looms in the background. An amazingly visual Vissi d'arte, had Tosca leaning on a bloody cross. Another Verena von Kerssenbrock idea was to have the chorus advance towards the stage in a religious-style procession, inclusive of crucifix and incense.

Cornelia von Kerssenbrock talks to a member of the audience after the performance of Tosca. Photo © 2005 Philip Crebbin
Cornelia von Kerssenbrock talks to a member of the audience after the performance of Tosca. Photo © 2005 Philip Crebbin

'My sister really went for emotional depth in this production', explains the conductor. 'She did not want a remote, purely intellectual experience but went for a setting that would touch her audience on a profound level.'

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Copyright © 21 July 2005 Tess Crebbin, Germany

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