Totale, Uebersicht beim Classic open Air 2015 auf dem Berliner Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin, Musikfestival, Tag 1, Copyright: DAVIDS/Sven Darmer, 04.07.2015

Mozart, of course, you can’t go wrong with that. The second evening of the Classic Open Air on the Gendarmenmarkt opens with the overture of “Idomeneo”, an opera that is rarely performed; an indication that not only the hits of the repertoire will be heard. But also, for example, the prayer of the Hebrews from “Moses and Pharaoh” by Rossini, which turns its serious, inner side outwards.

Basically, however, one popular number follows the next, that’s what people come for after all – even if unfortunately many places remain empty. On the other hand, outside the barriers, where it doesn’t cost anything, there’s more and more of a picnic atmosphere every year. The strong voices of the evening can also be heard there: Gregor Sobzak sings a princely, sonorous Count Almaviva from “The Marriage of Figaro” and later a supple “La ci darem la mano” duet with Lena Langenbacher. Yes, yes, Don Giovanni: “With a total of 2064 women, hell could almost have been worth it,” says moderator Hans-Jürgen Mende, quoting Loriot.

Mende guides you through this evening of arias with a light hand, only making one unnecessary comment: that in the opera you always have to wait hours for one hit – here you would be served them all one after the other. A tragic misunderstanding that is repeated over and over again: Whoever only looks at the “hits” will always go home unsatisfied, hungry and without understanding. Because the supposed highlights are of course embedded in an overall context, announce themselves, unfold their actual effect only in the contrast and togetherness of the whole piece.

So be it, the musical quality of the evening is right. All singers are ensemble members in Rostock. Aleksandr Nesterenko sings the part of Alfredo from Verdi’s “La traviata” with wonderfully calm, clear lines, Natalija Cantrak a brilliant Julia (“Je veux vivre”) by Gounod. The North German Philharmonic, with Marcus Merkel stepping in for Julien Salemkour at the podium, plays heartily and breathes the spirit of these pieces.