“Quiet is always harder than loud”

28/07/22 Tomorrow Friday (July 29) Giacomo has Puccinis Il Trittico Premiere. Never before have these three one-act plays from the late Puccini period been staged at the Festival – the premiere took place in 1918. It is also the first joint work by director Christof Loy and conductor Franz Welser-Möst.

Musically, Welser-Möst finds the last one here Salomé and Electra carried out quite a similarity between Puccini and Strauss. Both composed very close to the text, the relationship between word and sound was very important to them – “just real musical theater”. Technical challenges for conductors. “IN Gianni Schicchi there are several trapdoors, on the other hand, the amazing orchestral language and the enormous range of expression, from joyful to intimate passages, are fascinating, ”he describes aspects of this piece.

Tragic (Tabarro)lyrical (Suor Angelika) and a happy piece (Gianni Schicchi) bring them together in one evening, that was Puccini’s intention. All three songs aren’t heard together often (and the playing time is also decent). Christof Loy and Franz Welser-Möst decided on an unusual order, with Angelica’s sister at the end. This piece is often overlooked, says the director. But later he was especially impressed with the effect of this piece. He also wants to rehabilitate this one-act play.

And an idea Angelica’s sister to put it at the end, it also has something to do with the soprano Asmik Grigorian, who sings in all three songs: “It seemed logical to end the evening with a spectacular monologue.” In his opinion, the common tradition of ending with Gianni Schicchi goes back to the experience of playing Greek satyrs. On the other hand, in the sequence shown now in Salzburg, it is possible to show catharsis and the road to paradise.

There are very different Puccini in all three pieces, says Franz Welser-Möst. For him, this is not an opera in three acts, it is three different pieces. “It shows how correct the theatrical instinct of Christof Loy is. There is a huge difference between Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica, so the decision to switch quickly turned out to be the right one. The biggest surprise for him was the almost “ruthless accuracy” of Christof Loy, says Franz Welser-Möst, his concept of discipline follows his own rules. So this first collaboration with Christof Loy “won’t be our last”.

His own relationship with Puccini was complicated at times, and Christof Loy admits that he had to think about it again and again. “Puccini dictates a lot, for example in terms of time and action. His work doesn’t make sense without a specific setting, ”says Loy. As a committed minimalist, he felt somewhat limited in his imagination by Puccini’s demands for certain qualities. Basically, it is fascinating how Puccini’s precise human drawings are. This also applies to musical spaces where a lot is going on in the quiet dynamic range. “Puccini’s exact demands on singers and characters result in a kind of puzzle in which you can discover a lot of freedom.”

Franz Welser-Möst agrees. Putting the whole thing together and breaking it down into the overall artistic value is a great pleasure for him every day in a wonderful ensemble, which consists of a total of over thirty roles. And although the Vienna Philharmonic last played this work about thirty years ago at the Vienna State Opera, it became clear after the orchestra’s first rehearsal why it is the best opera orchestra in the world. With Puccini, it’s very important to get to the bottom of it right from the start. “On Il tabarro you have to hit the atmosphere from the first note, it starts with a triple piano – silence is always much harder than loud. ”Rapid changes of mood made music highly demanding, Puccini was simply a great master of compression.

According to Loy, it helps to work with an artist like Asmik Grigorian, whom he has known since 2014 and with whom he has a close relationship of trust. The joint artistic search even extends to the exchange of messages after the rehearsal. “She is an extraordinary personality who can make the best of any situation, she looks completely different in all three roles. This makes it easier to explore emotionally differentiated states. ” Christof Loy thinks her style of play inspires everyone. “She manages to develop a sense of theater that does not seem artificial.” (PSF / dpk-krie)

Premiere on July 29 in the Great Festival Hall, next performances on August 5, 9, 13, 18 and 21 – live premiere on August 29. 6:00 p.m. on Ö1, late broadcast on August 13 at 10:05 p.m. on ORF2, broadcast on ARTE Concert on August 13 at 6:30 p.m. – www.salzburgerfestspiele.at
Photos: Salzburg Festival // Birgit Probst Photographie (1), Monika Rittershaus (3)

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