Sächsische Zeitung, 2.11.2010
The orchestra proceeds with gravity through Brahms’s Tragic Overture in D minor. Susanne Grützmann accompanies them with high concentration in the seldom performed Piano Concerto No.1 by Clara Wieck, that had been polished to a small diamond. The pearl-like ornamentations full of fantasy sounded better on the small grand piano in the theatre in Radebeul than they would have on the grand Steinway in a great theatre in Dresden. … After the intermission, the Orchestra offered a precise performance of Schumann’s Symphony No.2 in C major. The racing sequence of notes in the Scherzo spread from the strings like a brush fire. Percussion and winds illustrated the seriousness of the matter. Oboe and bassoon showed dream-like expanse in the elegiac world of the expressive Adagio. GMD Michele Carulli had the vision to formulate suitably the grand form. … (He) reminded us that the Orchestra of the Saxony State Theatre offers its culture far and wide. Beethoven’s Ninth on television is well and good, but that is only façade. But for the tree to bear flowers and fruit, it needs roots – and these are provided by the Orchestra. The audience thanked Maestro Carulli for his speech with great applause, rose to their feet after the encore from Beethoven’s Fifth, and shouted “Bravo!” loudly enough to be heard even in the State House of Legislature!
Sächsische Zeitung, 18.10.2010
Young principals can open up when embedded in a reliable ensemble, chorus, and orchestra. Christina Poulitsi’s sparkling Queen of the Night, Hagen Erkrath’s monolithic Sarastro, and the dark soul of Monostatos as presented by Andreas Petzold. Admirable also is the vocal potential. Patzke delivers a sustained and flexible baritone. Axelsson accepts the challenges of the role of Tamino fearlessly. Christina Poilitsi’s coloratura is bell-like clear. Erkrath’s bass stands solidly. And Judith Hoffmann, from a “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen” that was somewhat wobbly, in the course of the evening finds a moving tone in her meeting again with Tamino. The Saxony State Theatres show once again that they are irreplacable not only for the citizens but also for the artistic development of singers. … Michele Carulli at the lectern gave the evening a very special character. His unusual and at times extreme tempi gave the evening a tension, rendering some parts a clarity as if in slow motion and sweeping others briskly over the stage. …
Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, 18.10.2010
There are no musical exceptions anywhere during the evening – this Magic Flute ensemble performs at the highest level. … The conductor Michele Carulli offers fresh tempi and lets the ladies and gentlemen of the orchestra set the accents. …All in all, this is a production worth seeing. It succeeds in being contemporary in spirit as in staging, without being unrealistic or contrived, without trying to distort it or triumph over it.
Focus Musikszene 5/6 2010
… Faust was performed here in the original version with spoken dialogue (there is another version with through-composed dialogue that was premiered in 1852 in London). The work has charm because of its cosy mixture of German Singspiel, romantic gusts, and a shot of belcanto (Kunigund’s arias), interspersed with many interesting instrumental solos. The conductor Michele Carulli, who also initiated the discovery of this version, made it clear from the beginning that the work is undeservedly undervalued. He has a feeling for the individual qualities of the music and its many lovely orchestral niceties, and is a circumspect accompanist of the singers. And at the same time he can build up a highly capable young ensemble, for which one can only congratulate the Saxony State Theatre. … With more scenic luck: why not Louis Spohr more often?
Das Orchester 4/2010
Although Stravinski’s Scherzo á la Russe is a light-hearted orchestral lollipop, this subtly witty piece rather depicts the broken and splintered aspects of the 20h century. And the Orchestra of the Saxony State Theatre with its conductor took up this work with its exemplary sounds of the epoch for their third symphony concert of the season. … GMD Michele Carulli had stumbled just before a rehearsal , and so at the concert he sat on the podium with a foot encased in plaster and a red sock and flung his crutches away – nothing should get in the way of his energetic and agile conducting. He spurred and steered the orchestra through the score and saw them through to a witty and sparkling interpretation of the work. It flickered full of life and lightning-like discharges – compliments especially to the hornists from whom the work demands things which seldom happen without accidents. The Radebeul team managed it cleanly through all the Stravinski shallows! … Respighi’s Concerto in modo misolidio, regrettably seldom performed, was in the programme at Radebeul played by the Italian pianist Sandro Ivo Bartoli. In its somewhat Gregorian-ecclesiastical key it was an almost archaic whisper, at times mysteriously nebulous, bordered by saturated colours. The strings created a soft ocean of sound over which the solo part floated light as a feather, especially in the chorale-like passages at the beginning of the Lento. Sandro Bartoli conjured up pearl-like tonal cascades over an orchestra that never held itself back too much – Carulli maintained the balance and so spiced the very virtuosic cadenzas.
Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, 16.3.2010
One certainly wonders when an Italian from sunny Apulia makes up a whole programme with Grieg and Sibelius. Michele Carulli as conductor of the Orchestra of the Saxony State Theatre began some time ago to organize the symphony concerts on themes, and thereby touched a nerve with the public. The second performance of the 4th Symphony Concert, a Sunday matinee, gave the lie to all pessimists who had warned of the ageing audience: the completely sold-out house contained every age group from 8 to 80. … What at first may have sounded portly or too heavy, namely Carulli’s relaxed tempi, was changed by him to gripping scenes full of dramatic force or exciting dance. Impressive was not only the joyous playing of the whole orchestra but also above all the unity and purity of tone of the strings, which at times the winds could have envied. …At the end came Grieg’s “Peer Gynt”, again played with delicacy and effervescence. GMD Carulli always challenges his orchestra – one could hear how he inspires it and enables the audience to have an experience ranging from morning sunshine to deep sadness. Finally the conductor gave his sense of humour, which in any case kept breaking out, free rein. He hopped on the podium to “In the Hall of the Mountain Kings”, and would have thus pleased every troll in Norway. An extremely extended accelerando finally broke into a furious passage – no wonder that this movement had to be repeated at once. And at the end the conductor gave a boquet to his new colleague, the lady at the second flute.
Sächsische Zeitung, 2/3.1.2010
Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the concluding chorus from Schiller’s poem “An die Freude” has been performed in Radebeul every new year’s eve since 1959 without a break. And one can see that Michele Carulli, a conductor with temperament, loves this work. It becomes in his hands a powerful triumph, a “Music for Humanity”, a “Worldly Emotion”. Under his expressive conducting, the orchestra’s performance is outstandling of a work that they have thought deeply through and made completely their own. And the same applies to the chorus.The Singakademie and the Theatre Chorus, both brought up in the best tradition, formed a perfect entity. They captivate not because of quantity, but rather through their interpretation of the text with sensitively set accents, well articulated, and dynamically differentiated.
Dresdner Neueste … 2/3.1.2010
As the conductor Michele Carulli put it, one can be more than a little proud of the Saxony State Theatre as they celebrate an unusual Jubilee on New Year’s Eve 2009. Since 50 years and without a break, the orchestra has celebrated this time of the year with a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in D minor, and is thus the one and only orchestra in Germany with this long tradition. … Michele Carulli conceived the first movement somewhat broadly pathetic and slowed the flow, but then introduced an elememt of humour that is a rarity in a Beethoven interpretation. The second movement pulsated with infectious playfulness and much delicacy. The slow movement was laid out with intense lyricism. These clearly stated characteristics were there in the dialogue of the earnest basses in the final movement. Carulli did not need portly tempo changes in the great choral parts, and instead he gave the members of the Singakademie Dresden and the Chorus of the State Theatre the possibility to achieve a great sound – which some tenors did with overenthusiasm – that they maintained to the end.