Opera in the times of Corona or The Figaro’s distillate

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Rushing restlessly, compact and made music with bright colors, almost crowded, rushed. Love, or perhaps better desire, they are in a hurry on this first Sunday in Advent. And with it the notes in which they are poured. The overture of this “Figaro” from the Theater an der Wien sets the operating temperature for the entire opera production. Stefan Gottfried at the podium of the concentrated, sometimes furious Concentus Musicus maintains the tempo and musical density throughout the opera.

The result sometimes sounds like a resounding attack by Eros, like a whirlwind sweeping through the score. Or rather, through the distillate that is left over from Mozart’s opera “Le nozze di Figaro”. Playable without a break, was the clear corona requirement of the theater to the leading team. The planned premiere in mid-November fell victim to the lockdown and has now been digitally broadcast to the living room.


Shadow games of eros: Page (Patricia Nolz) crushes counts (Florian Boesch), maid (Giulia Semenzato) watches. – © apa / M. Schell

Abridged Corona version

This Corona version of the complex Mozart opera is about three quarters of an hour shorter. Whether one can still follow the many intrigues as a “Figaro” newbie remains questionable. In any case, there is hardly any time to linger, both scenic and musical. Perhaps in the Countess’ “Dove sono” aria (lyrical, elegant and yet intense: Cristina Pasaroiu) or in Susanna’s rose scene (refreshingly bright, emotionally strong: Giulia Semenzato).

An elegant countess (Cristina Pasaroiu) meets young, carefree love: Maid Susanna (Giulia Semenzato) with her fiancé Figaro (Robert Gleadow).  - © apa / Moritz Schell

An elegant countess (Cristina Pasaroiu) meets young, carefree love: Maid Susanna (Giulia Semenzato) with her fiancé Figaro (Robert Gleadow). – © apa / Moritz Schell

There is plenty of room for Cherubino’s youthful erotic confusion (enchanting and trembling despite her vocal lightness: Patricia Nolz), and even more for energy for the count’s anger and raving. Florian Boesch sings and plays it as a weighty character role of a madman, a violent foaming, desperate at the sinking of his power. There is Robert Gleadow as Figaro, vacillating between these two aggregate states of desire: dynamic, agile and the virile center of opera.

An evening that always rushes along at the highest escalation level, that is also what this production is from a scenic point of view. The venue is an abandoned, worn-out suite of rooms, the little furniture has been suspended, and a lonely polar bear skin hardly warms you visually.

But the scorching heat is in the figures who stumble through these desolate rooms. It’s twilight inside, dark outside, bright moonlight casts striking shadows on the wall: in his operatic directorial debut, cabaret artist Alfred Dorfer and co-director Kateryna Sokolova focus on the emotional abysses in the characters, on their delusions and fears. They find no support outside. This emotional density in the empty spaces works and creates a never-ending suction. But the inner horror cabinet of the characters, which has become a scene, is monotonous in the long run; In the TV broadcast, the gestures also appear exaggerated, little remains subtle.

Breathless drama

What you have to give Dorfer and Sokolova credit for: They don’t impose anything on the opera, take their characters seriously and their emotions personally. The result can no longer be described as a fine psychologization, it is rather an additional dramatization. The finely knitted piece itself hardly gets any air under so much intensity load.

Finale with Remise: love and grace triumph over chaotic desires.  - © apa / Moritz Schell

Finale with Remise: love and grace triumph over chaotic desires. – © apa / Moritz Schell

It is quite possible that this production experienced live in the theater is a completely different opera evening. That the images appear stronger, the emotions less exaggerated. In any case, this “Figaro” will definitely sound different without technical control, filling the large sound space and not squeezed by TV boxes. Despite the compression and the resulting weaknesses: The digital distillate certainly arouses curiosity. And hopeful to meet the music again very soon in the theater itself.



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https://www.wienerzeitung.at/nachrichten/kultur/buehne/2084073-Das-Destillat-des-Figaro.html

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