I should structure this review upside-down and first mention the extraordinary conductor. I very much liked his Ring, but his Parsifal [in an unforgettable Paris production by K.Warlikowski] made me hooked up on his way to interpret the music by Wagner -- the beauty and the capacity to bring new quality to the show through music: that Parsifal was one of those rare operatic experiences which stays with you forever. Now what I can say about his Hollaender? It is simply unbeatable. Yes, "unbeatable" is the right word! Of course the chemistry between him and this orchestra is an important factor -- you don't get this result with just several weeks of rehearsals; it takes years to build this level of mutual confidence and understanding. He and his orchestra never covered the singers, every instrument was distinctly percievable, yet the whole ensemble produced a gloriously homogenous sound. The nuances Haenchen impeccably sculpts through his choices of tempi. They do not only give a better sound to the orchestra, but they support and further emphasize the dramatic intentions by Kusej which were simultaneously occurring on the stage.
It is maybe the fact that this was their third show [5 to go!] that everything clicked right... Whatever the case, this orchestra and Hartmut Haenchen were simply wonderful on that night of February 12.