First Mozart Week in Mannheim
In the 18th century when Mozart was active as a promising composer, he loved Mannheim because of its court orchestra that was the best in Europe. However, by the 19th century, romantic music became popular and the tradition was lost. In order to revive close relation between Mozart and Mannheim, Adam Fischer started the Mozart Week in Mannheim in the first year of the 21st Century
The opening program on December 3 and 4 was a concert performance of "Lucio Silla" by the Danish Radio Sinfonietta, which is another ensemble Adam Fischer is involved. This work was first performed in December 1772 at Milan. After successful premier, it was forgotten even in Mozart's time. The record shows some of arias were sang in Mannheim in 1778 by Aloysia Weber, young Mozart's sweetheart. Adam Fischer had performed this piece in concert in Copenhagen in November, and there is a plan for a recording with the Danish Radio Sinfonietta. The second Mannheim concert was broadcast live by Danish Radio.
The next day was the concert by the National Theater Mannheim Orchestra and Adam Fischer, with guest soprano Lynne Dawson, who sang at Lady Diana's funeral in September 1997. The program included the March KV.237, the overture to "Nozze di Figaro," some beautifully sung arias from "Figaro". The finale was the Jupiter Symphony.
Active Adam Fischer was so busy on the last day of the Mozart week, December 9. In the Matinee concert, he won much applause as a wonderful pianist. He played Mozart's Adagio and Fantasy. The wind and string ensembles of the National Theater Mannheim played Mozart chamber works. In the afternoon, there was a "Play Mozart!" competition for local children.. Adam was chief judge. Then in the evening, he conducted a successful "Don Giovanni" with some guest singers.
Other programs in the Mozart Week in Mannheim were, the opera "La finta giardiniera", a ballet "Requiem" and a small opera "Il re pastore". It was a valuable week introducing less popular works by Mozart. After the final performance, there was a big firework display in front of the theatre and people enjoyed a candlelight dinner.
Adam Fischer already has a plan for the next Mozart Week. According to him, there will be a concert of the National Theater Mannheim orchestra with the world famous Diva, Cecilia Bartoli. If you love Mozart, Mannheim is a good place to visit.
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New Season Opening with "Idomeneo"
The season of National Theater Mannheim starts in late September and ends late July.
The 2001-2 season opening was the new production of "Idomeneo" on September 28.
This is the second production of Adam's Mozart Series, following "Don Giovanni"
last season. It was directed by Matthias Schonfeldt.
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Very Active Haydntage 2001
Although it does not have as long a history as the Bayreuth Festival, the Eisenstadt Haydntage cannot be overlooked. The young Austrian pianist /conductor, Stefan Vladar conducted the Haydn Orchestra in two short opera "La cantaria" and "Lo spezale". Both were sung by two male singers and two female singers. Like the composer, Haydn, Vladar himself played the harpsichord during "La cantarina" and the Orchestra played a central role in the performance. The finale of "Lo speziale" is lost. In this one act production, the story stopped in the middle because of it. Then Haydn himself appeared on the confused stage and explained what had held him up and how the story continued. The performance continued with the two numbers that have survived. With the simple comic stage set, it was a well-choreographed performance, however too much action sometimes made it difficult for the singers to give their best.
The oratorio "The Seasons" conducted by Adam Fischer was a memorable
performance for its 200 years anniversary. Regular performers at the Haydntage, Cornelia
Horak, Johannes Chum, and Robert Holl sang the solo parts. As at the concert last spring
in Vienna, the Wiener Singakademie were the chorus. Of course the orchestra was the Haydn
Orchestra. Robert Holl's convincing farmer Simon was especially wonderful. As usual, Adam
located the trumpets and horns on the balcony and created an exhilarating hunting scene.
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Triumphal Debut of the Hero of Bayreuth.
As we announced in the last issue, due to the sudden death of Maestro Sinopoli, Adam Fischer appeared the podium of Bayreuth Festspielhaus. In the 125 years of the festival's history, making a debut with "The Ring of the Nibelung" is very rare. The noteworthy first cycle started on July 27.
Adam Fischer's Ring started with the prelude which sets the scene in the River Rhine. With the perfect balance of the ensemble, sometimes very loud, as with the motif of the Giants quite overwhelming us, at other times a beautiful piano, he forced the audience to concentrate on the performance. With flowing tempi, Adam Fischer never lost control in more than total 15 hours of the performance. With the dramatic finale of Gotterdammerung: the house of Gibich sinking beneath the stage in flames; the Orchestra played so movingly, that the audience stayed silent for a while after the curtain fall. After that, storms of applause continued for more than 20 minutes. When Adam appeared at the curtain call, the audience cheered.
The singers also won applause, including the new Walsung Pair Violetta Ulmana and Robert Dean Smith, Luana DeVol as Brunhilde, John Tomlinson as Hagen, Gunter von Kannen as Alberich, and Graham Clark as Loge and Mime, another British singer who is also a wonderful actor.
Although some people did not like the production by Jorgen Flimm, the music and especially Adam Fischer's conducting won unanimous praise from audience and critics. For example, the German newspaper, Frankfurt Allgemeine said "Adam Fischer's conducting set the atmosphere of each act quicker and more effectively than any stage set." Then using several paragraph, it explained how wonderful the music was. The Suetdeutsche Zeitung of Munich added to its review a detailed biography of Adam. The local newspaper of Bayreuth praised immediately after the first "Rheingold" calling him a "Phenomenal Conductor". Finally, with the title "Hero of Bayreuth", the weekly newspaper "Die Woche" used one full page for a special interview with Adam Fischer. Critics from all over the world are united .
Adam Fischer will conduct the "Ring of the Nibelung" until 2004. If you cannot get tickets for Bayreuth, the National Theater Mannheim is also planning the Ring cycle with Adam Fischer in November and July. This is also highly recommended.
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Mannheim School Final Concert
As we reported in an earlier Baratom, the Mannheim music school, which Adam Fischer and National Theatre of Mannheim organized, took place in July. The main purpose of the school was to learn about 18th century music and its techniques. More than 60 students from 18 countries attended this first year and enjoyed many unique experiences during the lectures and performances. Although Adam Fischer was very busy because of rehearsals at Bayreuth, he conducted the final concert on July 26. It was brought forward by one day because the first performance of the "Ring" at Bayreuth was on the following night.
The concert started with Mannheim composer Cannabitch's "Symphony for two orchestras". This piece was once lost and it hadn't been performed for almost 200 years. Students divided into two orchestras and appeared on stage separately. Sometimes the two played together and sometimes against each other. The concert continued with Mozart's Serenade Notturna, with four soloists selected from the students, then "Alcandro, lo confesso". The finale was the Jupiter Symphony. Of course, it WAS a student orchestra and the technique was not perfect, but they all played their best. They were warmly applauded by the local audience and brought the concert to a close with an encore, the Overture to the Marriage of Figaro.
This Mannheim School is now firmly established and will take place again next July. The Fan Club will keep members informed of the schedule.
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A Modern Don Giovanni
After the success of "Bluebeard's Castle", Wagner's "Ring" and "Tristan", Adam Fischer conducted the new production of "Don Giovanni" at Mannheim. The director was Matthias Schonfeldt, who directed "Orlando Paradino" and "Il mond dela luna" at Eisenstadt. I had the chance to see the final performance.
In the middle of the overture, when the curtain rose, Ottavio was taking a shower. Then Don Giovanni entered and a very modern production began. There was an aisle from the right of the stage, which went through the rear to the left side of the orchestra pit, which was integrated into the production. Soloists and even members of the orchestra wearing black shirts and black trousers appeared on the stage using this aisle. A most unusual and interesting idea was the use of German subtitles as a part of the play. There was not only a German translation of the libretto but during the famous catalogue aria by Leporello, statistics and even a graph were displayed on the wall of the set. The audience was greatly amused.
Although there were many interesting ideas, some of the action was very confusing. For example, when changing scenes, someone threw the set to the floor and girls in jogging suits appeared on the stage to fill in the time it took to reset. That was nothing to do with what was going on during the performance. Also, when Don Giovanni and Leporello were talking on the second floor of his castle and inviting the statue of the commander to dinner, Masetto was walking around the stage doing nothing. And when the commander visited Don Giovanni, Leporello was in the next room preparing dinner. It was very difficult to understand the thinking behind these sequences. As a result the audience, which was expecting a traditional production, booed Matthias Schonfeldt at the opening night. But, at subsequent performances, people knew what to expect and the last night of the opera was a sell-out.
All the singers were of a very high quality, particularly the tenor Christoph Strehl (Don Ottavio) who sang with a beautiful high tone. Peteris Eglitis (Leporello) sang nicely and his acting was very funny. The orchestra did not just accompany; sometimes the players took part in the action on stage. It was very difficult to conduct because of the distances involved but Adam Fischer managed very well.
Next season he will conduct two new productions: Mozart's "Idomeneo" by Schonfeldt and Karl Goldmark's "The Queen of Sheba", directed by the renowned Hungarian film director Istvan Szabo.
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Salzburg Mozart Week performance by Haydn Orchestra
Salzburg, the major city of west Austria is famous for the music festival in summer. The city also celebrates the birthday of the local composer Mozart. Every year in January, there is a series of high quality concerts by world famous orchestras. This year the Haydn Orchestra was invited for the first time.
The concert took place at the Mozarteum Concert Hall on January 31. The opening piece was Mozart's Symphony No. 40. Adam Fischer has played it many times, even at the Hollywood Bowl, as well as recording it with the Danish Radio Sinfonietta. This time, with the collaboration of his own Haydn Orchestra, he tried out many wonderful ideas. Compared to other interpretation, Adam emphasized the accents of the second violin and Viola sections. It was very effective and created very much original Mozart.
The second piece was Mozart's concerto for flute and harp with Wolfgang Schulz, the Vienna Philharmonic principal flute, and the Japanese popular harpist, Naoko Yoshino. Not to be too forward but not just accompanying either, the Haydn Orchestra gave strong support to these virtuoso soloists and created a thrilling performance.
The second half of this concert was one of Adam Fischer's favourite Haydn, Symphonies,
No. 88. He has often played this work with the Haydn Orchestra in the past, always adding
new ideas. For example, in the 4th movement, instead of a regular pizzicato, the second
violins hit the strings with wooden part of the bow, creating a humorous effect. It is a
very interesting symphony that changes the general image of Haydn
This performance was recorded by Austria Radio and broadcast in Europe in February. In
addition, NHK in Japan and Japanese satellite radio system Classic7 also broadcast it. The
concert was very successful and was well reviewed in the local newspapers, which resulted
in a future invitation to the Mozart Week.
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