Puccini

Madama Butterfly at the Aalto-Theater Essen, April 1999:
Patrik Ringborg, designated Principal Conductor of the Opera, charges the score with suspense. He demands the precise Essen Philharmonic to play rather tenaciously and avoids sentimental exaggerations. He sharpens the edges when required: a Puccini without sugar icing.
Manon Lescaut at the Gothenburg Opera, February 2002:
... It reaches very far. Into the core of the heart. And I have seldom heard the chorus and the orchestra sounding so frightfully good as now under the baton of Patrik Ringborg. "Hammering passion" might be an overly used phrase. "Volcanic power" as well. But which words should one choose?
The music drama flows most intensely and inspiredly from the orchestra pit. Nuances and details are tenderly cared for by the orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera under conductor Patrik Ringborg - the hero of the night.
... This normality speaks against the intrinsic tone of the music, something which is yet again proven in the wonderful orchestral intermezzo introducing the third act. The orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera, under Patrik Ringborg's baton, manages to find the right combination of impressionistic shimmering sound and melodic intimacy. You find the richness of colour and the light touch which creates such agility of expression. So the music becomes electric and oscillates between the hallucinatory and the matter-of-factly stating.
he parade number of the orchestra - the intermezzo of act 3 - shows their masterly capacity for wildly passionate as well as controlled, calm musical expressions, all together well balanced under the conductor Patrik Ringborg.
The orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera showed last autumn ... what a first class opera orchestra it is and now does it again. Patrik Ringborg, who has developed into a exceptionally skilful opera conductor in Germany, keeps brisk tempi throughout, while having rhythm and phrasing under perfect control.
Patrik Ringborg manages the quality of the music with even care, without attempts of rhetoric outbursts.
What grips you is the fine shimmer of the orchestra, which under Patrik Ringborg's safe guidance plays on a rich dynamic palette. The musicians of the Gothenburg Opera once again show that they presently form the most even and skilful opera orchestra in Sweden.
But the music, under the increasingly Italian sounding conductor Patrik Ringborg, goes a long way.
In the orchestra pit Patrik Ringborg enthusiasms his musicians to a wealth of shimmering sound and sensuality in mainly quick tempi, with flexible phrasing, richness in variety and dramatically well calculated dynamics.
Manon sounds great. ... A special appraisal should be awarded the Orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera, which under Patrik Ringborg played on the highest level, incredibly sensitively and with an overwhelmingly beautiful sound.
It is in many parts an appealing performance with beautiful music superbly performed by the orchestra of the Opera under the baton of Patrik Ringborg. The performance of the well-known intermezzo in the beginning of act 3 goes beyond most things.
Before the orchestral playing with its intense richness of tone under the baton of Patrik Ringborg one may only bow and say grateful thanks.
The conductor Patrik Ringborg evokes a powerful and colourful orchestral playing, with eruptive waves, pathos and fire in the orchestra...
Manon Lescaut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, October 2008:
... But as is the case in any revival of a popular work, the main issue here was the singing. Gallardo-Domás and Shicoff had dynamic onstage chemistry and provided most of the evening's vocal fireworks. Gallardo-Domás, the Chilean soprano known for her portrayals of Puccini's heroines, gave a wrenching performance every bit as compelling as her star turn in Anthony Minghella's 2006 production of Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera. Her idiosyncratic, distinctive voice takes some getting used to, but here it served her well. Aside from a few outbursts that were too big, her singing seemed effortlessly supple. At times her quivery, emotion-tinged singing had a pop quality, but she managed to curb her more diva-like tendencies: her opening aria, "Vedete, io son fedele" sounded both noble and vulnerable. Her des Grieux did not make such a striking first impression. Now fifty-nine years old, Shicoff showed his age, even more so alongside the wonderful (and young) tenor Michael Spyres, who was singing Edmondo. Shicoff is still capable of producing a beautiful tone, but his voice has lost some of its former agility: there was a labored quality to Act I's "Tra voi, belle," and the orchestra sometimes swallowed him whole. Early in the performance, Shicoff's transitions between registers were uneasy, and he landed some high notes weakly. While Gallardo-Domás tore through passages with near-reckless abandon, Shicoff seemed keen to slow things down, taking his arias with graceful maturity. Over the course of the evening, however, Shicoff achieved parity with his costar. By Act III he sounded every bit as impassioned in his lyric urgency as in his famed accounts of Don José and Lenski. Both artists delivered a shattering Act IV that combined remarkably brazen singing with convincing acting: Gallardo-Domás forced high notes out almost defiantly as she sputtered to her death. Massimo Cavalletti was a smoothly powerful Lescaut; Stephen Bronk brought a wonderfully villainous tinge to the cunning Geronte de Ravoir. In the pit, Patrik Ringborg led a spirited - if at times oversaturated - account of Puccini's first popular score. The famous Act III intermezzo was especially accomplished in its balanced lushness.
Tosca am Deutschen Nationaltheater Weimar, April 2008:
... In addition an at all times confident, extremely precisely acting conductor, the young Swede Patrik Ringborg, a master of the calculated ecstasy. Patrik Ringborg's brilliant conducting Cardinal praise however is due to the man, who not only masters the sensitive score with its surprising syncopations as well as changes in beat and tempo, lets the chromatic lustre glow, but indulges himself in well regulated beauty: Patrik Ringborg conducted the exquisitely disposed Staatskapelle and - as an alert, singer-friendly co-ordinator of the musical events on stage as well - ensured an almost perfect, deeply stirring performance.
The conductor Patrik Ringborg provides sweetness and fire with the celebrated Staatskapelle, he allows the musicians to savour the lyric beauty in the score, lending insistence to the brusqueness when brass and percussion are allowed to roar, and yet the sound intensity never ends in itself, used in a clever way it enlivens the drama; only on very rare occasions and for a few bars it is difficult for the singers to stand up to the orchestra. As Scarpia is praised like a god by the chorus - a pallid, exsanguinous and will-less congregation, all offsets of the bigoted sacristan (powerful in this supporting role: Renatus Mészár) - the orchestra bellows; as Tosca and Cavaradossi dream of a future together before the execution the flute seems to snigger a taunting comment.
And finally the guest conductor Patrik Ringborg, new Generalmusikdirektor at the Kassel State Theater, who leads the Staatskapelle Weimar in a sumptuous panorama of sound, complex in the lyrical passages and with great vehemence in the dramatic scenes. Tosca in Weimar is a moment of bliss for the opera.
Staatskapelle, Opera Chorus of the DNT, Philharmonic Chorus Weimar and the children's chorus of the Friedrich-Schiller-Gymnasium as well as the outstanding soloists are in full cry under the musical direction by Patrik Ringborg. ... Opera can rarely be experienced so purely and seldom a premiere was so unanimously acclaimed as on Saturday evening.
The Toscan Weimar presents many of the things distinguishing a successful opera performance: The Staatskapelle Weimar under Patrik Ringborg and the soloists, in particular in the leading parts, featured a consistently cogent performance.
... since the Staatskapelle Weimar, led with much attention to detail by Kassel's GMD Patrik Ringborg, after restraining themselves in the first act and thus certifying the concept of the staging, now proceeds to action with considerable verismo pathos, always savouring the sweetness of the melodies.
Turandot at the Staatstheater Kassel, March 2015:
A great operatic evening at the Staatstheater Kassel is over: Puccini's Turandot was presented, musically in every aspect convincing and in an intense staging. … Puccini’s music was never more vigorous, never more colourful, and never more modern than in his last opera. In a brilliant achievement, general music director Patrik Ringborg and the Staatsorchester Kassel make this music glow, again and again creating stunning moments.
The new version of the Turandot ending by Luciano Berio, (world premièred in 2002), has not yet gained common acceptance. At the Staatstheater Kassel you can hear its singular charms so subtle and transparent, that even sceptics might change their opinion on this matter. Firstly this is due to Patrik Ringborg’s conducting, letting a Giacomo Puccini of the 2oth century resound, open to experiments, dissonant, piercing, and of broken bombast. Secondly it is due to the staging by Markus Dietz, for which everything said also is true. It doesn’t, no, does rarely intrude und offers a reading free of folklore and sweetness.
Thus there is no drastic caesura any more in the transition to Berio, who most meticulously kept the passages written in 1924 by the dying composer. He didn’t however re-use previous material or sugar coat the music, but orchestrated sparingly, filling the holes with lucid new music. The result makes the familiar version appear tacky.
Where the set can not illustrate the action, the music must fill this void. Patrik Ringborg takes action and tells the story of love and hatred, of power and responsibility towards society merely with musical means. The entrance of the Emperor of China turns into an intermediate finale, where the despair, the wish of an old man to finally end all problems are realised. … Musically however the evening is one of the finest moments for Staatstheater Kassel. Even the selected version of the finale by Luciano Berio underlines the message by the successful approach to musically explain Turandot’s transformation through Calaf’s kiss.
The orchestra under Ringborg’s passionate direction painted the far-east sound of the Turandot score in an exquisite way.
Patrik Ringborg on the other hand knows how to kindle and contain Puccini’s powerful musical language. He enlarges the apparatus into ecstasy. He allows the orchestral colours to glow, the brass to thunder, the percussion to pulsate, the inexorable bass founded gong to be struck, metrically falling like a executioner’s hatchet. He is the master of the abyss and of imperceptible transitions. He ist a real interpreter of true love. For this the people of Kassel love and will miss him.

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www.ringb.org