R. Strauss

Elektra (reduced version) at the Theater Freiburg, February 2007:

High time to talk about the fulminant orchestra. Under Patrik Ringborg's confident guidance, which time and again delicately prepares the ground within the bounds of possibility, the musicians of the Freiburg Philharmonic grow beyond themselves in this nerval music - that they as well enter the stage for the final applause ... is consequential. You heard an immensely rich kaleidoscope of colours. From the lyric reduction, where the chamber musical regions often were sought out, to the discharge of power; everything was offered in an uninterrupted flow and exceedingly voluptuously unfurled. Eminently beautiful were the wood winds supported by the contrabassoon. Downright culinary sounded the music where Rosenkavalier already announces itself.

Getragen von der kraftvollen, sorgfältig ausgefeilten musikalischen Interpretation des Dirigenten Patrik Ringborg ist hier ein Opernabend zu hören, der einen angreift. Besseres kann man von einer Elektra nicht sagen.

Strauss' edgy, most expressive music won't leave anyone untouched. This is also so at the Freiburg Theater, where the new music director Patrik Ringborg with haunting impact and the finest colour shadings leads the Philharmonic Orchestra in a narrow space and there makes it tell about all the horrific things befalling the humans here: about violence, about traumas, about murders and about blood.

In this gently formed scene the staging and the musical interpretation meet as well. Because Patrik Ringborg, the conductor and interim music director, and the exquisitely disposed Philharmonic Orchestra Freiburg often prefer the lower sound levels. Thereby they do not forget, that this the most sophisticated of Strauss' operas is an image of decomposing psyches that continuously twitches and seethes.

At the Freiburg Theater the new music director Patrik Ringborg with haunting impact and the finest colour shadings leads the Philharmonic Orchestra and there makes it tell about all the horrific things befalling the humans here.

That rich applause brought the entire orchestra on stage, may by no means be considered as merely a polite gesture. After all, Patrik Ringborg, the present interim music director, had not delivered a casual soundtrack from the pit, but precisely alloted dramatic impulses to a dark piece of world theater.

Patrik Ringborg is dimming his orchestra, which especially in the wind sections sounds refinedly, to the dusk of a ghost train, as he always in his gestures stays close to the sounding events. Thoughtful, yes slowly he savours this score of madness, with discipline sets dynamic peaks, thereby always staying considerate towards the singers, delivers almost fairy music instead of ancient tempests.

Not often are the events on stage so intensely rooted in the orchestral music as in this opera. In this spirit Patrik Ringborg was a firmly leading and fervent director of sound in front of an orchestra acting wide-awake. Thus this Elektra through its convincing entity of scenic and musical performance flatly is the most exciting production, that the Freiburg Opera has so far achieved in this season.

... an exceedingly sensitive, unusually fragile structure.

This suits chief conductor Patrik Ringborg well. He leads the Philharmonic Orchestra from peak to peak, but controlls inebriation and ecstasy like a psychoanalyst on the podium. Strauss would have rejoiced over so much sensibility vis-à-vis his piece, "indeed so loudly composed". An evening of pleasant surprises...

Really worth experiencing is primarily the music. The greatest esteem for the conductor Patrik Ringborg, who puts into effect this large, violent, yes on his part frenzied opera with discipline, rage and brilliant drawing in detail even with an orchestra reduced (almost without losses) to "normal" proportions. Hats off!

At the end the Philharmonic Orchestra conjures a waltzing decadence which already makes you think of the Rosenkavalier. Patrik Ringborg and his musicians together come on stage bringing the house down. Right so.

The Philharmonic Orchestra conjures a waltzing decadence which already makes you think of the Rosenkavalier. Before that Patrik Ringborg with his orchestra adds nuances to this Elektra which maybe were sligthly gone lost in Bieito's high-contrast grasp. And he was always on the spot when the action was dramatized from the pit, for instance by Agamemnon's timpani beats. The trombone chorus sounds tender at Orest's appearance, nobly do the wood winds sound at the mutual recognition of brother and sister.

But at least one tremendous success was presented by the opera last season. ... Elektra, flexibly and attentively conducted by Ringborg, also became the season’s musical highlight.

Elektra at the Norwegian National Opera, Oslo, May 2009:

... Apart from Resmark there is a special Swedish interest in Patrik Ringborg, who gallantly controls the huge orchestra. The result is suggestive and forceful. Under the direction of Ringborg the whole house is breathing Elektra, and that he never allows the music to come in second hand gives you goose pimples of joyful satisfaction. The music claims its space but always attuned with the singers. It pulsates wonderfully between the delicate and the bombastic like the hub of a paradox. My words aren't enough, but Elektra sums it up in a good way: 'Schweig, und tanze. Alle müssen herbei!'

The major part of the action takes part between these so different characters. They are forcefully embraced by a large orchestra, offering a music that is everything but puritanical. The over 100 musicians in the pit create a dense sound and under the conductor Patrik Ringborg the score sounds intense - in the victoriously jubilant sections, in the more sparse and vulnerable moments, as well as in the remaining, deliciously nuanced portrayals of strong humans.

... Patrik Ringborg controls the huge masses of sound from the pit.

... A production like this one lets us sense which formidable power music is when it goes inside the drama and emphasizes it. The dramatic music becomes a dimension in its own right and deeply penetrates our soul. It tears us apart inside and creates a chaos in our feelings. Without it the drama never would have had this effect on us: It reinforces and clarifies and thus this production importantly proves the strong position of the opera as artform.

The sounds are expressive, expressionistic, crass and shrill. No bel canto and beautiful arias in this short performance, lasting under two hours. But quite simply dramatical music, employed with the giant grasp of a musical master. Brilliant! Shocking!

The theme is also characterized by its times which expresses themselves in the music. It is an era of disbandment of standards, Freud's psycho analysis and of women in mental insurgence. All this is reflected in the music. It is like experiencing 'The Scream' by Munch in the musical world. ... Already at the start with the maids almost screaming about Elektras 'madness' is the musical expression strong, and these are no easy tasks, even if the parts may seem minor. We may not forget the efforts of over 100 musicians in the mighty orchestra in the pit! Here the orchestra and the acoustics provide for best results. What a sound!

Patrik Ringborg conducted an eager orchestra eagerly.

Gigantic orchestra

The pit has room for a huge orchestra with 103 musicians. The composer a.o. uses eight clarinets and a lot of other wind players. Much of the action takes place in the orchestra, and score presents and deepens the characters in a virtuoso manner.

The Swedish conductor Patrik Ringborg gets the best from the vibrant orchestra in the many fierce and nuanced cues. ... It is an enormously rich score combined with an intense, almost hysteric action - expressionist opera at its wildest.

The gigantic orchestra with 103 musicians sends a flawless sound from the pit.

The orchestra was the most interesting part of the performance I visited. The conductor Patrik Ringborg unfolded the complexity of the score, and the orchestra answered with radiant playing.

You can expect the best from the Staatskapelle Berlin, and indeed you get it: A mighty, incarnadine orchestral sound. But this is the case in Oslo as well, where Patrik Ringborg makes the Orchestra of the Norwegian Opera sound like a thoroughbred Strauss orchestra. An impressive achievement.

The orchestra with over a hundred musicians creates an electrifying, densely woven, sound and lets the motifs follow the mental of the characters. ... But the orchestra lets her [Elektra] through, and throughout paints the extreme contrasts of Strauss' music in an exemplary way.

Richard Strauss' tragic opera Elektra in Oslo is a co-production with the Deutsche Oper am Rhein and as far as the music is concerned it has turned out a magnificent experience, placing the Norwegian National Opera high in the ranking of international opera. ... Leading the very large orchestra of the Norwegian Opera was conductor Patrik Ringborg. ... The orchestra played superbly, the singers sang splendidly: this was an event on the highest possible level. BRAVO.

Intense Elektra in Oslo

Musical drama in the true sense of the word can be experienced at the Oslo Opera in two remaining performances this early summer, then the last opera on the main stage in this season is Richard Strauss' Elektra from 1909. It is an example of how the new Norwegian opera house attracts international stars, among others the Swedes Patrik Ringborg and Susanne Resmark, embodying the Queen Klytämnestra in this co-operation with Deutsche Oper am Rhein. ...

The orchestra of the Opera under Patrik Ringborg's baton is the equivalent to the character of Elektra, with total presence and indomitable power in all situations the performance throughout.

Elektra on tour with the Royal Opera Stockholm at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, Finland, July 2010:

Richard Strauss' Elektra is a grand musical achievement by the Royal Opera Stockholm. The Finnish National Opera never could have accomplished a similar, stellar hyper-dramatic performance with an all-finnish cast. ...

Elektra is made like a symphonic opera. From the tension between Elektra's aggressive and Chrysothemis' lyric themes rises a huge expressionistic eruption and a symphonic drama. The Orchestra of the Royal Opera under Patrik Ringborg's baton ... proved to be a virtuoso, glowingly colourful, darkly dramatic and liltingly delicate opera orchestra on elite level.

The hate, the rage, and the anxiety in Elektra was discharged with intoxicating cogency. A lyrical and sensual beauty also glowed in the music, strangely foreboding Strauss' next opera, the comical, romantic Rosenkavalier.

Patrik Ringborg brings the extremes out of the orchestra. In the very loudest forte-passages he demands yet a little more, and dulcetly traces the moments of happiness. Everything is brought out of the low brass and the percussion arsenal. The major structure culminates in the tragic, jubilant dance in the end.

Elektra Staatstheater Kassel, Februar 2017:

Neben den feinen Gesangsleistungen des Ensembles und der Opernchores ist es das von Patrik Ringborg hervorragend disponierte Staatsorchester, das diesen Abend zu einem musikalischen Erlebnis macht. In der letzten Premiere seiner Kasseler Amtszeit gelingt es dem GMD, mit suggestiv gestaffelten Tempi und einer komplexen Klangregie einen hypnotischen Musikstrom zu erzeugen. Das Riesenorchester (unter anderem mit sechs Trompeten!) agiert in feiner Nuancierung (etwa in der fahlen Klytämnestra-Szene), steigert sich am Ende aber auch zu wahrlich extremer Klanggewalt.
Heftiger Beifall des begeisterten, aber auch mitgenommenen Premierenpublikums.

Neben den feinen Gesangsleistungen des Ensembles und der Opernchores ist es das von Patrik Ringborg hervorragend disponierte Staatsorchester, das diesen Abend zu einem musikalischen Erlebnis macht. In der letzten Premiere seiner Kasseler Amtszeit gelingt es dem GMD, mit suggestiv gestaffelten Tempi und einer komplexen Klangregie einen hypnotischen Musikstrom zu erzeugen. Das Riesenorchester (unter anderem mit sechs Trompeten!) agiert in feiner Nuancierung (etwa in der fahlen Klytämnestra-Szene), steigert sich am Ende aber auch zu wahrlich extremer Klanggewalt.
Heftiger Beifall des begeisterten, aber auch mitgenommenen Premierenpublikums.

Neben den feinen Gesangsleistungen des Ensembles und der Opernchores ist es das von Patrik Ringborg hervorragend disponierte Staatsorchester, das diesen Abend zu einem musikalischen Erlebnis macht. In der letzten Premiere seiner Kasseler Amtszeit gelingt es dem GMD, mit suggestiv gestaffelten Tempi und einer komplexen Klangregie einen hypnotischen Musikstrom zu erzeugen. Das Riesenorchester (unter anderem mit sechs Trompeten!) agiert in feiner Nuancierung (etwa in der fahlen Klytämnestra-Szene), steigert sich am Ende aber auch zu wahrlich extremer Klanggewalt.
Heftiger Beifall des begeisterten, aber auch mitgenommenen Premierenpublikums.

So wie diese großartige szenische Umsetzung den Zuschauer mit Hochspannung bannt, zieht Patrik Ringborg ihn vom Pult aus in einen geradezu atemberaubenden musikalischen Sog. Dabei betont er mit oftmals gedehnten, aber nie überdehnten Tempi vor allem die harmonischen Anteile der Partitur, lässt deutlich die Anklänge zur Frau ohne Schatten und auch zum Rosenkavalier hören, schwelgt nicht nur in Chrysothemis‘ Sehnsüchten, sondern arbeitet auch die sanften Anteile Elektras heraus. Umso prägnanter wirken dann die scharfen und harten Klänge. Orests Auftritt, der wie oben beschrieben schon szenisch grandios ist, begleitet er mit einem Tubablasen wie zum Jüngsten Gericht. Das Orchester ist bestens disponiert und setzt das Konzept seines GMDs hochkonzentriert in leidenschaftliche Klänge um. Es ist Patrik Ringborgs letztes Opernpremieren-Dirigat als GMD in Kassel, ein Dirigat, mit dem er in bester Erinnerung bleiben wird.
Ein szenisch wie musikalisch ganz großer Opernabend! Psychoanalytisches Musiktheater vom Feinsten und Spannendsten.

Spätestens ab dem Elektra-Auftritt überzeugte Patrik Ringborgs Dirigat mit allerhöchster Konzentration. Das Orchester hat in den vergangenen Jahren erheblich an Spielqualität und-sicherheit gewonnen. Für den Generalmusikdirektor Ringborg war es die letzte Kasseler Premiere, weshalb er beim Schlussapplaus als Einziger Blumen erhielt. Allemal ein verdienter Strauß für diesen Strauss.

Die Partitur ist eine der anspruchsvollsten für ein Opernorchester und seinen Dirigenten. Das Staatsorchester unter der höchst konzentrierten Leitung Patrik Ringborgs entledigt sich dieser Aufgabe mit Bravour. Ein großer instrumentaler Fluss ergießt sich durch das Opernhaus, reißend, vorwärtsdrängend, dabei immer gut binnenstrukturiert.

The Kassel theatre holds an impressive, full scale orchestra, safely controlled by Patrik Ringborg in this his last production after ten years as Music Director in Kassel. A musical experience of high class.

Der scheidende Generalmusikdirektor Patrik Ringborg sorgt am Dirigentenpult für einen nie nachlassenden Strom glühender, peitschender, erregender Klänge, die sein Orchester spannungsreich und mit hoher Konzentration präsentiert. Ein fesselnder Opernabend, der sich tief in die Erinnerung einbrennen wird.

Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Staatstheater Kassel, May 2014:

Director Michael Schulz and conductor Patrik Ringborg turn the Strauss opera Die Frau ohne Schatten in Kassel into an important event

In the middle of the first world war composer Richard Strauss and writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal wrote the opera Die Frau ohne Schatten, a fairytale-like enigmatic celebration of marriage and of the ability to carry children. Into which kind of world these children are born however is not addressed. But that exactly what director Michael Schulz (48) does in his staging of this more than four hour long monumental opera, which can be heard in Kassel for the first time in decades. And it was vigorously celebrated in the almost sold-out opera house, not least because of the admirable musical realisation. ...
Five terrific protagonists in this celebration of voices in the Kassel production ofDie Frau ohne Schatten catered for enthusiasm during the première. ...

Few operas, even among Richard Strauss’ own works, live from the power of the musical momentum like this does. General music director Patrik Ringborg was able to connect the immense eruptions, the tantalising sweet sound and the eloquent conversational music transforming them into an overwhelming musical stream and to animate the gigantic apparatus consisting of a large orchestra, singers and chorusses into a top-class performance. Applause, bravos and standing ovations were the rightful reward.

In the shadows of a world war

… Luckily the singers give us clues as to where in the action we are. Overall the text can be understood in a very clear way, and you could quite rightly have refrained from using surtitles. This indeed does not happen often. ...
Patrik Ringborg and the Staatsorchester Kassel bring out the dialogical function of the music in this Strauss piece superbly. The voices resonate gloriously in the music and the balance between stage and pit is overwhelmingly successful. With great panache – for over four hours! – Ringborg conducts musicians, soloists and chorus singers with equal dedication, thus giving us the outmost indulgence in the interaction.
In this way, the cooperation turns Die Frau ohne Schatten into a Strauss feast this evening, without the staging interfering too much. The audience in the near sold-out opera house seems to share this opinion. The protagonists and the musicians are celebrated with vigorous standing ovations, intense jubiliation and many bravos.

The shadow of the dark powers in the light of music

An opera house that dares to put on Die Frau ohne Schatten during the Richard Strauss year has to meet all sorts of requirements. This largest opera by the congenial duo Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal (premièred in Vienna in 1919) is not only challenging in its demand for large size and sensibility, but provides a challenge to the stage to present five first class protagonists. …
In Kassel fortunately everything came together for success in the search of a shadow for the empress. Starting with Patrik Ringborg, conjuring diabolical magic and lyrical pauses to reflect to fine string solos. He also dosed the enormous machinery in a way, that made it possible to turn the evening into a feast for the voices. … We can report from Kassel on a complete musical success. …
Exultation in Kassel over a outright successful Frau ohne Schatten!

... and every single instrument always has to know exactly which function a tone has in the general sound. And when the colourfulness and diversity of the sound over such a long time yet again surprises you and the orchestra plays so narratively and beautifully in the instrumental parts, you have to praise it lavishly. The most impressing thing with general music director Patrik Ringborg is how he shapes transitions; that might be through a new tempo or through dynamic developments, but I also was dazzled by the way in which he creates transitions in the colours of the sound, He really does this masterfully and the audience in Kassel acknowledges this overall achievement with a veritable storm of enthusiasm for all artists.

Celebrated première of Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Staatstheater Kassel

Die Frau ohne Schatten by Richard Strauss is a masterstroke: Never did a composer of the late romantic era compose anything more magnificent and well-made than this opera. Hugo von Hofmannsthal created the libretto and entangled various fairy tales into a text with symbolic power: In the Staatstheater Kassel this music drama of highly condensed texture was presented last Saturday. The audience in the première enthusiastically received this cooperation with the Musiktheater im Revier Gelsenkirchen and celebrated singers, orchestra and the artistic team with long lasting ovations ...
Musically the opening night is was convincing in every aspect: … Moreover, the musical direction is in the able hands of the established Wagner and Strauss expert Patrik Ringborg: At times he allows the Staatsorchester Kassel to fly into a mighty rage, holds it back in the chamber musical passages and overall induces an intoxicating opulence in colours in the orchestral sound.

Like the thunder of cannons the heavy brass motif of the King of the Spirit Realm resounds from the pit. With martial force the dark triad pierces your body, and as the curtain rises and the Emperor appears in Wilhelmine full dress tuniform, it is already clear that director Michael Schulz has transferred Die Frau ohne Schatten, the music theatre ”problem child" of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, to its time of origin, the First World War. In Kassel the State Theatre has heaved this tricky work (not only because of its opulence) onto the stage – and after a nearly five hours long opening night truly has earned the triumphant success in the audience. Kudos!

One felt slightly reminded of the good old days in Thuringia, since Schulz, former opera director at the German National Theatre in Weimar, has translated the metaphors and the ciphers in Strauss’ fairy-tale opera into a feasible, wholly earthly realism like he did in his already legendary Ring in Weimar, forming it into a statement of his own – a touching plea for the institution of marriage and for the family, while general music director Patrik Ringborg, a well-liked and often seen guest in Weimar, lets a lucid sense of sound and an enormous dramatical presence prevail. The brilliantly prepared State Orchestra of Kassel is by no means inferior to their colleagues in Weimar.

… The audience, clarified through empathy, enthousiastically applauds without sparing with bravos – and not just for the staging. GMD Patrik Ringborg masterfully conducts a romantic poem, wonderfully transparent, agogically elaborated and with tremendous refinement. … Therefore the journey to Kassel by all means is worthwhile ...

Der Rosenkavalier at the Cologne Opera, April 2010:

I like Kiri Te Kanawa. .... At 66, her voice no longer has the silkiness that made her famous, but the tone is unmistakably warm and smooth. She took a while to warm - and her middle register is now somewhat recessed - but one can still feel the magic when everything falls into place, such as in the end of act I, crowned by a velvety floating pianissimo. Her Marschallin has never been a complex impersonation such as Régine Crespin's (and the occasion lapse of memory is only an evidence of that) and gravitates around charm, which she still has in plenty. Her figure is graceful as ever and her bearing is majestic yet feminine.

The Gürzenich-Orchester Köln is not exactly a world-class ensemble - the brass section can be messy and the strings lack a distinctive sound - but conductor Patrik Ringborg lead it to produce a very clean and perfectly balanced performance, the structural transparency of it indeed admirable.

Der Rosenkavalier at the Staatstheater Kassel, October 2014:

The protagonists crown the performance of the ensemble, which is good even in the smallest roles. Conductor Patrik Ringborg however deserves the musical laurels. He brought out extremely colourful and transparent playing out of the Staatsorchester Kassel. The merry man of waltzes, the dramatical, the exuberant and the contemplative Strauss - they all coalesce almost ideally. The acoustical changes of the opera house proved to give a gratifying effect. Orchestra and soloists sound voluminous as well as better blended.
In the end the soloists and the conductor won the most praise...

Generalmusikdirektor Patrik Ringborg and the Staatsorchester Kassel reveal the musical layers of style with great vividness – from the catching waltzes to a sensitive accompaniment in the monologue of the Marschallin, during which Irish guest singer Celine Byrne painted a deeply moving portrait of a nobly depressive lady in dark colours.

Musically mainly the orchestra under its music director Patrik Ringborg shines, although it is not letting the gold dust shimmer or adding a sounding comment to the large amounts of perfume sprayed on stage. It is rather colourating the autumn leaves blowing into the bedroom. Moreover concentrating above all on the singers, not allowing them to get drowned in sound. Among them and foremost the wonderfully delicate and yet powerfully glowing Celine Byrne as the Marschallin. Not just her musing over the time is a brilliant achievement. Whereby the playful Maren Engelhardt as the cavalier(ess) of the rose and also Lin Lin Fan as the tender Sophie reach a marvellously pending and beguilingly intertwined unity in the great terzetto at the end, thus passing the endurance test of every Rosenkavalier performance splendidly.

Patrik Ringborg and the Staatsorchester Kassel succeed in creating a very good Strauss sound, on the one hand very viennese, very waltzy in the appropriate passages, on the other again and again repainting Mozart’s times and using them in an unusual way, tender in the accompaniment with a good grasp in the rhythmically shaped sequences. It sounded very, very well indeed in a production that is musically impeccable.

Conductor Patrik Ringborg masterfully controls the big apparatus and lets his most dedicated orchestra recede into chamber music-like transparency, but also allows it to act up, sonorously and confidently.
This Rosenkavalier lasts four and a half hours including two intermissions. But the enthusiastic final applause, which was mixed with some booing for the stage director’s team, didn’t show any traces of fatigue.

… The musical quality of the performance in Kassel is on the same high level. GMD Patrik Ringborg presents an extraordinary realisation of the score, shaped in the smallest detail. Already the first prelude sets a high level that will prevail throughout the performance. The overall positive impression is not affected negatively when Ringborg savours the melancholic passages of the music in an extreme way, with occasional tendencies to stretch the music. More so in this performance than sometimes heard elsewhere, the brisk, motor elements of the music and the dynamics peaks are clearer separated from the calmer passages, something that in its own way is through and through impressive. It is pure joy listening to this Rosenkavalier, with the Kassel State Orchestra playing at their best.

It starts out with the Kassel State Orchestra providing the musical foundation under Patrik Ringborg's masterful direction. He interweaves Strauss’ very own musical language in minute detail even into the most remote instrumental groups almost like a mycelium, continuously billowing spores of viennese sound and sending echos of waltzes from the pit… In this Rosenkavalier, which adds a convincing ensemble performance to the perfectly presented main parts, love extends itself into the 21st century. It is time-transcending and universal. Like the music itself is.

Patrik Ringborg's subtle reading of the score made all the old masters appear unrefined, and might have indemnified many a traditionalist for missed or lost versant impressions in the staging.

In spite of trials and tribulations beforehand (due to reconstruction work in the opera house the première had to be postponed by a day) the opening night, staged by Lorenzo Fioroni and conducted by Patrik Ringborg, turned out to be a much acclaimed success. ...
Yet one has to acknowledge the outstanding musical level of the soloists as well as of the Staatsorchester Kassel. … The musical foundation was laid by the convincing performance of the orchestra. Patrik Ringborg elicited an exceedingly colourful and dynamically fine-tuned achievement from the players. His sensitive, well balanced interpretation at times sounded elegiacally fond of the Vienna waltz, then exuberantly-ardent, then again inward-looking and quite withdrawn. Well-earned applause for soloists and ensemble after a long operatic evening.

Patrik Ringborg and the accomplished Staatsorchester Kassel left a paramount impression behind. They succeeded splendidly in creating a powerful rage of sound in the hall, on one hand characterised by high intensity and tension, on the other through chambermusic-like clarity and a superb transparency.

Salome in the Freiburg Concert Hall, April 1997:

The drama explodes

The result was impressive ... Bringing out operas in concert in one way ... has one advantage not to be overtaken: For the first time in Freiburg you could hear nearly the original instrumentation that Strauss had in mind — there would never have been room for it in the orchestra pit. The concert podium as open sound stage — Strauss' cast of genius had free flow.

Above all the lyricist in the conductor Ringborg benefited from it. He is partial to a tender sound: he exhausted the morbid traits of the score, the glimmering musical climate, the pastel shaded soughing beauteousness of Strauss' music, its vast atmospherical qualities, the latent dance-like, the lascivious elegance in it, and the Philharmonic Orchestra jumped at the opportunity, grasping the many possibilities to outdo themselves in the solos. But also in the ever new surges of dramatic explosions, the orgiastic features in Salome's dance characterising the performance with its considerable suspense, with the long term escalation.

Patrik Ringborg lead this musical event. He seems to be predestinated for this music.

Slightly amused you could notice that he throughout the whole performance shows the dance, performed by the tetrarch's lascivious step daughter. But his gestures are never just for show; they transform the sound into an elastically transparent gestalt: it is clear that the dance really is the leading idea of this music. The eruptive escalation is fascinating; Salome's dance itself remains even in the orgiastic peaks a clever staging of great interest (throughout reflecting the contents of the drama). The orchestra - in short: at its best.

Salome at the Gothenburg Opera, September 2011:

With Patrik Ringborg in front of the orchestra nothing but a seething, passionate performance can be the result, one in which the orchestra no doubt acts as the second main character - exactly as extensive as Strauss wanted it and with even the smallest brilliant detail elaborated and brought out into light.

The vocal articulation, so often going under in the wordy conversations in Strauss' operas, is presented with unusual clarity.

And the singers very much owe this to Patrik Ringborg. He succeeds with the seemingly impossible in Salome, to let Strauss' colourful orchestral scoring blossom in all of its richness in detail, dramatic dynamics and psychological depths - at the same time bringing out the singers. It is magnificent!

Even if the performance of the singers was very good, they were outdone by the orchestra. Led by conductor Patrik Ringborg, their magnificent achievement was the greatest experience of the evening. I was happy to see that the orchestra was celebrated properly, i.e. on the main stage.

But naturally the orchestra and conductor Patrik Ringborg have to be given credit as well for the power in this Salome. In a music where myriads of instruments blend to the most sensational sound images the probably most important thing was produced - a transparency that makes it breathe.

The orchestra is Richard Strauss' main character, which is additionally accentuated in the glowing playing by the Orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera under Patrik Ringborg's direction.

The singers might drown in theatrical effects, however never in the orchestral sound. The fantastic conductor Patrik Ringborg succeeds in making the huge orchestra at hand sounding unbelievably slender.

Conductor Patrik Ringborg and the orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera produce balanced sound and dynamics in a very fine way.

The Orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera under Patrik Ringborg's baton plays sensitively and languorously.

Patrik Ringborg did more than well sifting the essential out of the complex score as both sonority and dynamic span emerged from the pit.

In aesthetical regard the music is asserting its position more than anything else. ... A complete orchestra delivers the most beautiful sound under Patrik Ringborg's direction.

Sometimes the music illustrates the chaotic on the stage, sometimes it creates a gripping contrast to the ghastly action. To me Strauss' colourful music with its world of sound, new at the beginning of the last century, plays the most important role this premiere evening.

The superb orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera has gone from strength to strength under the direction of Patrik Ringborg.

If this production (probably shocking to many a visitor) will be seen by a big audience remains to be seen. It is definetely worth hearing. The unusually big orchestra of 110 musicians with Patrik Ringborg as conductor accomplishes great things with the mosaic-like, colouristic art of music with its emotional outbursts and variations in sound, volume and tempo.

... all spotlight must be directed on the fantastic orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera. With a strong sense of drama and absolute passion it stands out in Patrik Ringborg's brilliant interpretation.

Musically the production was altogether in another league. Patrik Ringborg is a rare sight in his native Sweden, spending much of his time conducting in Germany. That is Sweden's loss: his understanding of the music was outstanding and his conducting was inspired and inspiring. It was a great pleasure to take my eyes off the stage and watch the orchestra during the two interludes, as they were clearly as gripped by the music as I was. Strauss' music requires a top-class orchestra to do it full justice, and here in Gothenburg it has got one. ... given how vividly atmospheric Strauss' music is, I feel a concert performance would have been at least as good an experience.


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