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Perfect All Round

TESS CREBBIN visits the
Opera Festival at Gut Immling in Bavaria,
for Verdi's 'Un Ballo in Maschera'

 

From 22 June to 29 July 2007, the annual opera festival at Gut Immling in Bavaria took place on the lavish equestrian estate and horse rescue facility of opera singer Ludwig Baumann. Baumann's festival has developed a reputation as one of the quality summer venues for opera fans in Southern Germany and frequently brings forth new talent. It is also a permanent annual fixture in the calendar of female star conductor Cornelia von Kerssenbrock, so their show-case opera, Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, with the Munich Symphony Orchestra under her baton, was worth a visit.

Gut Immling provides a beautiful setting for an opera festival. Photo © 2007 Philip Crebbin
Gut Immling provides a beautiful setting for an opera festival. Photo © 2007 Philip Crebbin

First off, though, there was some bad news on arrival: upon asking about the absence of Ivan Anguélov, aside of von Kerssenbrock thus far another star conductor at Immling who had been a permanent annual fixture there, we learn that he won't be back, which is a great shame as Immling was always the one location in Germany you could rely on to catch the busy baton-master for sure. It turns out that not many people were happy about his leaving, including the singers, plenty of whom report that they would love him to return.

A scene from Verdi's 'Un Ballo in Maschera' at Gut Immling. Photo © 2007 Philip Crebbin
A scene from Verdi's 'Un Ballo in Maschera' at Gut Immling. Photo © 2007 Philip Crebbin

Now, to Un Ballo in Maschera: like many Verdi operas, this story has a historical base. On 16 March 1792, Swedish King Gustavus III was murdered at a masque ball by Captain Anckerstroem. Verdi and his librettist, Somma, took some liberties, however: transplanting the action to Boston, a century earlier, and there was, of course, no love link between Anckerstroem's wife and the King.

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Copyright © 16 August 2007 Tess Crebbin, Munich, Germany

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