||11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19 & 20 December 2009|
Mozart · Don Giovanni
Grand Théâtre du Genève
A distinguishing feature of this Geneva "Don Giovanni" is the quality of the orchestral playing. Kenneth Montgomery, who is an old hand at this music, guides the orchestra securely through the score. At times he lingers expressively over the music, at others he drives the musicians forward with purposeful intensity. The layout of the orchestra takes some getting used to: Montgomery conducts from the left side of the orchestra pit, the strings are all on the left, the woodwinds in the middle, the brass and percussion to the right. This means that the orchestral sound varies for the members of the audience depending on where they are sitting.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 14/12/09
In the orchestra pit, by contrast, lightness of touch and eagerness prevail thanks to the finesse of Kenneth Montgomery's conducting. Surprisingly, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, reduced in size and seated lengthwise along the foot of the stage, produces a sound which has density if not depth. Mozart is there, in all his irony and vivacity, thumbing his nose at the moth-ball laden atmosphere that prevails on the stage.
Sylvie Bonier, 14/12/09
In contrast, Kenneth Montgomery brings a fresh impetus to the music. He conducts the opera chorus and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, reduced to chamber-orchestra size, in a raised orchestra pit. The orchestral playing breathes inventiveness, though the strings are a bit thin. In particular, Kenneth Montgomery (at the harpsicord) and Xavier Dami (at the pianoforte) provide contrasting colours as a framework for the recitatives. Nobility and fluidity combine and contrast to reveal the virtuoso ambiguities of the music.
Jonas Pulver - Le Temps, 14/12/09
Kenneth Montgomery conducted superbly, adopting a Baroque approach to the music and directing the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande with verve and drama, eliciting vivid colours from the orchestra and outstanding singing from the chorus.