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A Successful Shot

Opéra de Lausanne
05/14/2000 -  and 17, 19, 21, 23 May 2000
Carl Maria von Weber: Der Freischütz
Mireille Delunsch (Agathe), Gaëlle Mechaly (Aennchen), John Ketilsson (Max), Robert Bork (Kaspar), Thierry Félix (Kuno), Andrew Rupp (Kilian), Ludwig Grabmeier (Ottokar and Samiel), Jérôme Varnier (Ein Eremit).
Francisco Negrin (Director), Anthony Baker (Set), Emmanuel Peduzzi (Costumes), Hoir of teh Opéra de Lausanne, Véronique Carrot (Chorus Master), Orchester de Chambre de Lausanne, Jonathan Darlington (Conductor).

The former director of the Opéra de Lausanne (Mr. Meyer), now director of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris, has joined his efforts with his successor in Lausanne (F-X, Hauville) to produce an extraordinary production of a rarely performed opera in the French speaking world: Der Freischütz.

The première of this Freischütz was a huge success. The curtains open on a closed space, inclined diagonally to convey psychological distress in this Czech village society. A lively lot of people dressed in Germanic hunting attire, sing and dance the victory of Kilian, who won the shooting competition, and Max, the looser is made fun at. Then the wall slides open to let the smoke and fire of hell illuminate the stage in red. In come the demons and Kaspar, a hunter who has sold his soul to a demon called Samiel. The lot convinces Max to come down to the Wolves Gorge with them and melt seven bullets that will make him the champion of the next hunt and enable him to marry Agathe, his bride, since this is the ancient tradition. The second Act reveals similar minimalist dimensions. Agathe and her cousin in a room with a shrine in the middle containing the white roses given to Agathe by the hermit to protect her from evil. Then we fall into the gorge where animal headed demons and ghosts appear and vanish. At no moment is one bored by this lively production. The demons are performed by skillful acrobats that are the preys of the hunt as well. Coming down from the ceiling on a rope as a black eagle, or running onto stage as a boar or stag. They bring a mid-summer night dreamily magic to the piece.

Aennchen interpreted by Gaëlle Mechaly, has charmed us not only by her virtuosity but also by her stage performance. Agathe (Mireille Delunsch) and Max (Jon Ketilsson) the couple performed the "evergreens", Leise, leise and Durch die Wälder, respectively, with a romantic touch. Kaspar (Robert Bork) as the wicked and tormented, has revealed us the colourful palette of his voice from highs to lows. Jonathan Darlington, since many years faithful to Lausanne, has also been faithful to the quality of his conducting of the OCL (Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne) that is the best orchestra of Lausanne region. This Freischütz will be remebered as the gratest moment of this season. Lausanne suprises us with every production.

Zoltan Bécsi



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