There was much to enjoy in Der Freischütz because the staging by Carlos Wagner was the most impressive I have seen of the piece. Max and Agathe were portrayed as outsiders yearning to break free from the expectations of their hunting-loving community. They sought release by communicating with the world of spirits and magic, thus with the frighteningly dark, sub-conscious side of their own personalities. The interpretation was completed visually by the superb designs of Christophe Ouvrard. The supernatural Wolf’s Glen scene was genuinely bloodcurdling as narrow shafts of light pierced a black, murky background to reveal Max coughing up the magic bullets. Yet there were also some delightful touches of humour as, for example, when Ännchen becomes a kind of Calamity Jane showing her prowess as a huntress by shooting at beer cans.
Stefan Veselka in the pit underlined the multi-faceted character of the music: charming, tongue-in-cheek melodies for the villages’ antics; sinister harmonies and chords for the ‘other world’; energetic lyricism for the efforts of Max and Agathe to find salvation. As the former, Mirko Roschkowski tempered his steely tenor outbursts to reveal vulnerability; as the latter, Sara Rossi Daldoss spun silvery soft high notes suggesting a contemplative nature disturbed by darker forces. Gregor Dalal, the Kaspar, impressed with his powerful baritone – Surely a future Alberich.
Anthony Ogus – Opera Now – June 2017