Front-of-house and protection staff wearing dark suits and black masks outnumbered the audience. only 50 attendees, scattered throughout the first group like a gap-toothed smile, served more to emphasise the emptiness of national theatre rather than fill it.
This, the initial munich performance of walter braunfels die vgel (the birds) within the 100 years since its first hugely successful run indeed there, has actually turned into the strangest cultural occasions of a catastrophic 12 months.
Until recently, with fastidiously seen protection protocols, the bavarian state opera was operating with a gathering of up to 500 with its 2,101-seat hallway; there was no recorded case of covid-19 disease among those whom went to activities. but last thursday, following chancellor angela merkels announcement of a november lockdown, the bavarian local government bought the opera to cut back the viewers for its continuing to be shows from 500 to 50 another blow because of this beleaguered sector.
Therefore the unholy environment final saturday night. outdoors, a night of carnivalesque ingesting, with groups of unmasked revellers baying and adopting. around, a sense of mingled anxiety and incipient despair.
Indeed, the production had been streamed from the houses website, and will be readily available for per month from november 5 as video-on-demand. and it will get back for starters overall performance at next many years summer time festival, all things becoming equal.
In 1919, braunfels decided on aristophanes the birds just as much for its barbed wit as for its melodious possibilities. his late-romantic language reads now as an elegy for all that was ahead. braunfels music had been banned as degenerate because of the nazis, and though the half-jewish composer survived the war and continued to direct the cologne academy of music, their work was neglected for the next half-century.
Why performed the house choose conductor ingo metzmacher and manager frank castorf to stage this production? the previous showed no great experience for works lush plasticity and tender curves, and liked audibly small trust through the orchestra. the artists, strewn from a raised gap, reduced on littlest possible range strings to conform with hygiene laws, and despite obvious determination, dedication and indisputable capability, sounded consistently unnerved.
So it ended up being kept to the vocalists, the women in feathers and sequins as tawdry revue women, the males as greasy wheeler-dealers behind-the-scenes, to produce whatever they could of night.
Plus they did. caroline wettergreen, within the shimmering, stratospheric coloratura role of nachtigall, struck the perfect balance of otherworldly excellence, delicate eroticism, vulnerability, and remove; charles workman, as her earthly admirer hoffegut, seemingly have hit a fresh singing prime, with expressive range, level, and an easy assurance which he utilizes to underpin adventures in a top sign-up which has never sounded better; the role could have been written for him.
From michael nagys smart, manipulative ratefreund to wolfgang kochs sonorous prometheus, this will be a top-drawer cast, and all of these sing as though these people were looking to grab repeat engagements of the functions around the world any time now. would they could.
Video-on-demand from november 5,