The new Dorothea Röschmann (Wigmore Hall, 5 November 2016)

For the past couple of years I’ve been in attendance of Röschmann’s Wigmore Hall shows. If you read back, you will notice that my comments always mention her abandon (generally positive) to the point where I’ve taken to sitting at the back lest my ears be seared.

This year I’ve noticed a change.

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Gesänge aus Wilhelm Meister D877
Heiss mich nicht reden
So lasst mich scheinen
Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt
Kennst du das Land D321

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
Rückert Lieder


Franz Schubert
Der König in Thule D367
Gretchen am Spinnrade D118
Gretchens Bitte D564

Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
Wesendonck Lieder


Es muss ein Wunderbares sein (Liszt)

Piercing heights of release have been reached last night as well, but significantly more judiciously than before. I’m pretty sure it was deliberate. Even her usual storytelling is more reserved and introverted, if still as detailed as ever when it comes to moods. Of course, it might be the material (I’m not particularly familiar with Mahler and Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder have put me to sleep before), with a high frequency of very long, sustained lines, which she navigated without issues. But I think it’s also her.

Not only has her delivery changed, but her voice as well. Again, different material, different sounds, I know, but I felt that in Schubert as well. Her voice seems to have lost its warmth, which was more confusing than upsetting. I know singers’ voices change and sometimes that can be very exciting, even as it takes them down unfamiliar (to me) avenues.

She’s at a time in her life and career where a change is likely inevitable. The voice, whilst still full, is not so much bigger as it is harder, more metallic; in a sense, I venture to say, more conventional. The delivery remains on the operatic side, but considerably less flamboyant.

But what with this change, last night was an opportunity for me to focus on her interaction with Martineau a lot more than I have done before. It’s probably the first time I really gave him proper attention. The man has a very light, even playful touch, it seems to me, which contrasts Röschmann’s earnest intensity well. You can tell they’ve been working together long because their interaction was exemplary, particularly where timing was concerned. The echoes of the piano reoccurred in her singing in that way I call “organic” and he gave her space to breathe without being self effacing. The mood through the evening was pensive, with the inner turmoil pushed even further inside, under a settled veneer.

The next time she’s in London it will be for Otello, so due to this change I’m more curious than before how that’s going to work out.

About dehggial

Mozart/Baroque loving red dragon

Posted on November 6, 2016, in live performances, sopranos, wigmore hall and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Regie, or Not Regie?

    Thanks for the review! I just rewatched the 2009 Guth Don Giovanni and have fallen in love with her all over again. I find the idea of DR singing the Wesendoncks very intriguing) especially after her Sweden Mozart album (admittedly almost 2 years old now).

    Do you happen to know if the recital is/will be broadcast?

    • Hm, I tried checking Radio 3 which usually broadcasts Wigmore Hall recitals but nothing came up.

      If you’re thinking Don Giovanni, she really sounds different!

      • Regie, or Not Regie?

        Thanks for checking. I’ll keep an eye out. I have a terrible time tracking down programmes on the BBC3 website!

        Yes the 2009 Don Giovanni. DR Singing “Mi tradi” lying on the ground on her side. I really really like this production; its the kind of thing the Met should be bringing over instead of the dreary Grandage staging. but I do miss “Il mio Tesoro” and the epilogue. In this production I’d like to see DO and DA once more (for the final kissoff)

        Meanwhile, I like how DR’s voice seemed to be darkening in the 2015 Mozart program, and I look forward to hearing how it’s changing again.

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