by Robert Rollin
Though not something one would expect for a summer festival blast off, Franz Welser-Möst turned the all-Wagner evening at Blossom on Saturday, July 13 into a great success. Having two remarkably talented soloists didn’t hurt the concert, a powerful mélange of instrumental music and justly renowned vocal chestnuts, but above all, Welser-Möst’s approach to Wagner made the evening a truly special event. Among connoisseurs, the three operatic excerpts, each preceded by large instrumental segments, are considered the very best of Wagner.
Welser-Möst’s plan was to avoid over-sentimentalizing the music by keeping the tempo moving well, and by not over-fixating on the music’s wealth of details. Music theoreticians can spend hours arguing about harmonic analysis and non-chord tones in Wagner, but for the listener, the large scale lines and buildup to climaxes are of far greater import. Welser-Möst kept these elements limpidly apparent and guided orchestra and soloists into exemplary performances.
The evening’s highlight was the Prelude and Love-Death from Tristan and Isolde. [Read more…]