Jonathan Darlington, Conductor
06.
Dezember 2011
(English) From Mozart to Mozart…….

JD is in Australia now following on his recent Entführung in Geneva. Here he reflects on a singer’s perennial plight and offers a thought or two concerning Entführung…….

As a conductor it’s a relatively easy balancing act to perform ‘swinging’ between different productions: even with directors who may have radically opposing views of how the piece should be brought to life on the stage. For the singers it can be a much more difficult acrobatic feat. – A director telling you one thing, a conductor another, a choreographer yet another and so on. I have a huge respect for singers in general and a great deal of sympathy for their plight!

They also have to make sure they’re healthy and that their voices are functioning how they want them to. Seasonal colds and allergies of one sort or another add to the everyday singers’ burden! As conductors we have it easy: a score we can bury ourselves in without anyone telling us how we should do it, and even if we’re at death’s door somehow we can still get up and wave a stick around.

We are however the captains of the ship and bear the responsibility if the vessel sinks or stays afloat. We are cannon fodder for the critics if you like.

Entführung is one of Mozart’s operas that I’ve conducted the most. Even so, going back to the drawing board, as I always try to do no matter how many times I’ve conducted a piece, I realize how many subtleties there are still left to explore and marvel again at the infinite depth of Mozart’s musical mind. He is working on so many levels at the same time and using the building blocks of harmony, rhythm and melody in such an inventive way that one can go on for ever finding new ideas.

The character of Osmin has always fascinated me. In the original libretto Osmin sang very little – just one short song – and Mozart asked the librettist to give him a more important role. The result is a complex Caliban-like character around which the piece revolves both as regards the plot and also as regards musical structure. The music for Osmin, so said Mozart, apparently existed in his head before the libretto had even been written and contains elements of rare musical violence; rare that is for the period and Mozart. As he said, ‘a man who finds himself in a state of such violent rage exceeds all rules. …..

JD

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