Wednesday, February 9, 2011

REVIEW: Le Nozze de Figaro (Berlin) at the Komische Oper Berlin

Komische Oper Berlin (Berlin), Tuesday February 1

Actually, it was Die Hochzeit des Figaro because it was sang in German. This and other elements like wooden flamingos, accordion playing, a Jewish double wedding, Batolo singing My Way (ala Sinatra), Countess sleeping in a wardrobe and Marcellina’s yell of ‘Mazel tov!’ have almost made this a totally different opera! It is somehow expected to see a modern interpretation of an opera in Germany, but this one is particularly artificial, different for the sake to be different.

This production by Barrie Kosky managed to make my friend walk out of the half-filled house. The sad part of this performance was that it was all dramatic affectation and very little superior musical performance. Most of the stage actions were contrived bordering slapstick. It felt like the singers were instructed to never let the audience catch them not moving and to impress the audience, the singers have to sing in the most unnatural body positions.

In Act IV, hundreds of apples were poured onto the stage and a sickening sweet smell of apple permeated the theatre. Why? I don’t know. The only extrapolation I can think of is that it tries to imply temptations (ala forbidden fruit)… but then, WHY? It was all too modern deconstruction post-modern for me at least.

There is nothing to rave about the music or the singing. The orchestra did play and the singers did sing, but this production was neither about music nor singing…


Die Hochzeit des Figaro
Opera buffa in four acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
German text version by Bettina Bartz and Werner Hintze

Creative Team:
Musical direction ... Ariane Matiakh
Staging ... Barrie Kosky
Stage designer ... Klaus Grünberg
Costumes ... Marianne Häntzsche, Birgit Wünschmann
Dramaturgy ... Werner Hintze
Choir ... Barbara Kler
Light ... Franck Evin

Graf Almaviva ... Tom Erik Lie
Gräfin Almaviva ... Brigitte Geller
Susanna ... Maureen McKay
Figaro ... Carsten Sabrowski
Cherubino ... Elisabeth Starzinger
Marcellina ... Caren van Oijen
Basilio ... Thomas Ebenstein
Don Curzio ... Peter Renz
Bartolo ... Hans-Peter Scheidegger
Antonio ... Hans-Martin Nau
Barbarina ... Anastasia Melnik
Erste Brautjungfer ... Saskia Krispin
Zweite Brautjungfer ... Mechthild Sauer

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