R. Strauss

Ariadne auf Naxos at the Gothenburg Opera, February 2018:

Praise to the orchestra in a chamber music format, making the music sound wonderfully light under the direction of Patrik Ringborg, always without Wagnerian heaviness or late-romantic plush.

Yet musically it is extraordinary, so the lovers of Richard Strauss really get their fair share. The orchestra shimmers in all nuances under Patrik Ringborg's baton and the cast is of the highest class down to the smallest supporting role. It is clear that Strauss these days, after so many outstanding productions since the nineties, is living in the housing walls of the Gothenburg Opera.

Patrik Ringborg with much love is chiselling the parts woven together in the virtuoso instrumented orchestra of merely 37 players.

The music is delicate. The orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera and the conductor Patrik Ringborg offer chamber music-like shadings and pompous sound streams. ... The music is sensually ecstatic.

The conductor Patrik Ringborg creates a fine sound in the orchestra and leads the singers responsively ...

The orchestra of the Gothenburg opera sounds very well under the skilled Strauss expert Patrik Ringborg, whos performance is splendid.

Even though we might be sighing at a slightly strained construction (of the staging) we have to give in on mercy an iniquity before the staggering beauty of the music. Annalena Persson's mourning Ariadne with her huge bel canto lines. Zerbinetta's, Sofie Asplunds, glimmering coloraturas about everything but #metoo. Daniel Frank's heroic wine god, Ann-Kristin Jones temperamental Composter plus all the nymphs and comedians, accompanied by the effervescent 37-piece orchestra under Patrik Ringborg – no, it is probably impossible to fail with "Ariadne auf Naxos", and this is proven true this time as well.

There are no problems to be found in the synchronisation with the orchestra far below. Patrik Ringborg leads it in good balance between the chamber music-like and more muscular orchestral parts.

There are many reasons as to why the performance of the Gothenburg opera is such delightful experience. It is not merely the beauty of Strauss’ music but the performance of singers and players as well. Apart from the musical contributions the first give their roles most believable characters, while the conductor Patrik Ringborg and his musicians take on their nuanced supporting and accentuating task most professionally.

Ariadne auf Naxos in Gothenburg: Pure Magic! … Patrik Ringborg’s conducting was also perfectly judged; the music flowed beautifully and the dynamics were always sensitive to the singers.

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 nervate 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.

Carried by the powerful, carefully chiselled musical interpretation of the conductor Patrik Ringborg an operatic evening that attacks you can be heard. And nothing better can be said concerning an Elektra.

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 allotted dramatic impulses to a dark piece of world theatre.

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, yet slowly he savours this score of madness and sets dynamic peaks with discipline, 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 controls 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 to 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 feel 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 could never 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 an 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 at the Staatstheater Kassel, February 2017:

Apart from the fine performances by the soloists and the chorus it is the exceedingly well disposed State Orchestra led by Patrik Ringborg that turns this evening into a musical epiphany. In the last premiere of his ten-year long tenure in Kassel Patrik Ringborg succeeds in creating a hypnotic stream with suggestive graded tempi and a complex direction of the sound. The huge orchestra (among other with six trumpets!) acts with refined nuances (for example in the pallid Klytämnestra scene), but also raises to truly extreme force of sound toward the end.
Intense acclaim of a premiere audience that is enthusiastic, but also wrecked.

Like this extraordinary staging entrances the audience in high tension, Patrik Ringborg from his podium drags it into a downright breathtaking musical stream. He thereby stresses above all the harmonic parts of the score in at times streched, but never exaggerated tempi and clearly allows the echoes from Frau ohne Schatten as well as from Rosenkavalier to shine through, revels not only in Chrysothemis' desires, but also brings out the more gentle parts of Elektra. 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. It is Patrik Ringborg's final operatic premiere as the music director in Kassel, a performance that will be an abiding wonderful memory.
A dramatically as well as musically truly great operatic evening! Psychoanalytic muisc theatre at its finest and most exciting.

Always considerate of the voices, the parting music director Patrik Ringborg provides a large-format Strauss.

At least from the entrance of Elektra, the conductor Patrik Ringborg convinced with the outmost concentration. In the years past, the orchestra has gained considerably in quality and perfection. It was the last premiere in Kassel for music director Ringborg and for this reason he and only he received flowers during the curtain call. Certainly a well-deserved spray for this Strauss.

The score is one of the most demanding for an opera orchestra and its conductor. The Kassel State Orchestra under the highly concentrated direction of Patrik Ringborg takes care of this task with brilliance. A great instrumental stream gushes through the opera house, er Fluss ergießt sich durch das Opernhaus, torrential, pressing forward, always well-structured in itself.

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

The parting music director Patrik Ringborg on the podium caters for a relentlesseinenmaelstrom of glowing, lashing, arousing sounds, tension-filled and with high concentration presented by his orchestra. A captivating operatic evening, that will burn itself in deeply, thus creating an abiding memory.

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 surprise 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 uniform, 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, allows a lucid sense of sound and an enormous dramatical presence to prevail. The brilliantly prepared State Orchestra of Kassel is by no means inferior to their colleagues in Weimar.

… The audience, clarified through empathy, enthusiastically 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 occasional 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 colouring 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 echoes 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 chamber music-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 stepdaughter. 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 power in this Salome should also be credited to the orchestra and the conductor Patrik Ringborg. In a music where myriads of instrumental sounds melt together to the most spectacular sound pictures the maybe most important thing was brought out - a transparency that makes it breathe.


The orchestra is Richard Strauss' main character which further is accentuated in the glowing playing performed 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.

The conductor Patrik Ringborg creates a fine sound in the orchestra and leads the singers attentively ...

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 sovereign orchestra has gone from strenth 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.

Patrik Ringborg@facebook