Laurence Cummings 'impressively and passionately' brings out 'magnificent colours' in Theater an der Wien debut

23 February 2018

We are delighted that conductor Laurence Cummings has achieved such great critical acclaim in his house debut at Theater an der Wien, bringing his expertise and flair for Handel to a new production of Saul directed by Claus Guth. The production opened on 16 February and will run till 27 February (more information here). 

Laurence has received fantastic reviews:

The Freiburger Barockorchester have been known to sometimes sound somewhat restrained, but conductor Laurence Cummings animates the orchestra to new differentiated levels - Peter Jarolin, Kurier

In the pit is the Freiburger Barockorchester under Laurence Cummings. The Handel Specialist enlivens the somewhat unusual score (with little bravura and few recapitulations). A glockenspiel, a surprisingly well-employed organ, plus natural horns, provide great atmosphere and dynamics. A truly dramatic plane arises from the many instrumental solos and accompagnati, which complements the staging wonderfully - Jörn Florian Fuchs, Badische Zeitung

Handel's rich, enriching, wonderful music is presented by the Freiburger Barockorchester under the direction of Laurence Cummings in a pleasurable and sensual way. In particular, the rich strings and the woodwind establish the juicy and powerful changing colours of sound - Stefan Ender, Der Standard

In the pit: Laurence Cummings and the Freiburger Barockorchester - an ideal team. Whether in the melodious overture, which counterpoints the upcoming calamity, the sweetness of the glockenspiel and harp, or in the swinging tutti passages, the Brit courageously reaches into Handel's treasure chest and always keeps in close contact with the stage. David McVicar will have to work hard on the 'Ariodante' at the State Opera, ditto William Christie on the podium, because his former assistant Cummings has set the bar enormously high - Michael Tschida, Kleine Zeitung

The Freiburger Barockorchester under Laurence Cummings provides a brilliant Handel sound. Magnificent colours, especially in the strings and the natural horns, organ sound, and the glockenspiel show the capabilities of this music. This is opera where everything is right- Susanne Zobl,

Handel's score, one of his richest orchestral and most colourful, is in excellent hands at the Theater an der Wien with the Freiberger Barockorchester under the English Handel expert Laurence beautifully the Freiburger Barockorchester perform these echo effects, how melodious is the dialogue spun between the oboes and violins, how vividly do the bassoons draw out their dark curves, before the illuminating strings return, how the harp and organ shine - this not only excites the ear, but also connects powerfully with the dramatic agenda - Walter Weldringer, Die Presse

Laurence Cummings at the Freiburger Barockorchester explored the numerous tonal colours of the work and proved himself an equal partner in the interplay between stage and pit, repeatedly igniting each other in drama and intensity- Judith Belfkih, Wiener Zeitung

Musically, the evening was in the hands of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under Laurence Cummings, who impressively and passionately translated the extraordinarily colorful score with the utmost precision and absolute eloquence, thus laying the foundation for a fine ensemble of singers - Michael Wruss, öö Nachrichten

Laurence Cummings drives the flexible instrumentalists through bouncy rhythms without curtailing their freedom of phrasing. They breathe beautifully in the pit, with smooth, infinitely-variable dynamics. A Handel for intelligently sharpened ears, but also for enjoyment. "Saul" with soul. - Klassiker Welt

The 2017/18 season continues for Laurence Cummings with returns to the London and Göttingen Handel Festivals as Musical and Artistic Director. Later in the season, he will conduct the OAE in Barrie Kosky's production of Saul at Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

Photo credit: SKATA

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