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  1. #541
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    I'm back home after a couple of weeks doing the Ring Cycle at the Berliner Staatsoper and a few other performances there, plus my first visit to Vienna and the Wiener Staatsoper. As a bonus, it was a real pleasure to once again be able to browse at length in real music stores, which still exist in Berlin and Vienna (and, I'm sure, other European cities), though prices are very high.

    I will write up reviews of the performances/productions, though it probably will take me a couple of days:

    Berliner Staatsoper:

    1 - 4. Der Ring des Niebelungen
    5. Der Freischütz
    6. La Finta Giardiniera
    7. Der Fliegende Holländer

    Wiener Staatsoper:

    8. La Boheme
    Welcome back Hoffman! Sounds like you had a blast!

  2. #542
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    I'm back home after a couple of weeks doing the Ring Cycle at the Berliner Staatsoper and a few other performances there, plus my first visit to Vienna and the Wiener Staatsoper. As a bonus, it was a real pleasure to once again be able to browse at length in real music stores, which still exist in Berlin and Vienna (and, I'm sure, other European cities), though prices are very high.

    I will write up reviews of the performances/productions, though it probably will take me a couple of days:

    Berliner Staatsoper:

    1 - 4. Der Ring des Niebelungen
    5. Der Freischütz
    6. La Finta Giardiniera
    7. Der Fliegende Holländer

    Wiener Staatsoper:

    8. La Boheme
    I'm envious! Looking forward to your reviews.

  3. #543
    Staff Writer & Reviewer - Life-time Donor Veteran Member Jephtha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    I'm envious! Looking forward to your reviews.
    I'm especially interested in Der Freischütz. Performances of this opera are so rare outside Germany and Austria.
    How far that little candle throws his beams!
    So shines a good deed in a naughty world.


    The Merchant of Venice, V, i.

  4. #544
    Senior Member Veteran Member Aksel's Avatar
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    The Met has scrapped plans of a 2017 Ring revival as well as that season's production of Messiaen's Saint François d’Assise.

    http://parterre.com/2013/05/06/plank-your-lucky-stars/

  5. #545
    Schigolch
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    Well, a house like the MET should plan to stage as soon as possible Saint François, from my point of view. However, it's also a good thing to plan for L'amour de loin.

  6. #546
    Senior Member Veteran Member Aksel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schigolch View Post
    Well, a house like the MET should plan to stage as soon as possible Saint François, from my point of view. However, it's also a good thing to plan for L'amour de loin.
    I know. But it's still VERY disappointing that they won't be doing it after all. I had been looking forward to it.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aksel View Post
    The Met has scrapped plans of a 2017 Ring revival as well as that season's production of Messiaen's Saint François d’Assise.

    http://parterre.com/2013/05/06/plank-your-lucky-stars/
    Oh wow. So, my idea that the Met should retire the Machine turned out to be true after all! I can't say I'll weep for it. R.I.P, Machine!

    Glad that Jay will be returning with The Flying Dutchman. Glad that L'Amour de Loin will be produced. Disappointed that St. François d'Assise (a very good opera) will not. This could have been epic.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  8. #548
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Regie Burkhard Kosminski this time seems to have gone too far. The opera company in Düsseldorf cancelled his Tannhäuser after the public at the opening night erupted in loud protest 30 minutes into it, given that it was updated to the Nazi era and featured graphic executions and gas chambers. Some members of the public were so upset that they had to seek medical assistance after the show.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); May 9th, 2013 at 11:34 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  9. #549
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Regie Burkhard Kosminski this time seems to have gone too far. The opera company in Dusseldorf cancelled his Tannhäuser after the public erupted in loud protest 30 minutes into it, given that it was updated to the Nazi era and featured graphic executions and gas chambers. Some members of the public were so upset that they had to seek medical assistance after the show.
    Yes, very tasteless -- but this is what happens when you accept Regietheater productions where there are no tabus and no limits. If any good can come of this, it may be that there will be serious public discussion about all of the issues related to opera stagings. Ironically, the current Bayreuth production of Tannhäuser has been surrounded by controversy for a similar situation. There are no Nazis in it, but there is a suggestion of a gas chamber. Last summer, conductor Christian Thielemann and the soloists demonstratively refused to acknowledge the director during the curtain call.

    I will be very curious to see what the June issues of Opernwelt and Das Opernglas have to say about it.

  10. #550
    Staff Writer & Reviewer - Life-time Donor Veteran Member Jephtha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Yes, very tasteless -- but this is what happens when you accept Regietheater productions where there are no tabus and no limits. If any good can come of this, it may be that there will be serious public discussion about all of the issues related to opera stagings. Ironically, the current Bayreuth production of Tannhäuser has been surrounded by controversy for a similar situation. There are no Nazis in it, but there is a suggestion of a gas chamber. Last summer, conductor Christian Thielemann and the soloists demonstratively refused to acknowledge the director during the curtain call.

    I will be very curious to see what the June issues of Opernwelt and Das Opernglas have to say about it.
    This sort of thing honestly makes me wonder what the motives of the producer are. If he is truly concerned to bring the public to a new level of understanding of a terrible period in their history, surely there are more efficient ways to do it than by alienating them in this way. And if the producer is merely using the Third Reich's atrocities in order to gain notoriety, then this is appalling and crass, to say nothing of being a great insult to the audience's intelligence.
    Last edited by Jephtha; May 9th, 2013 at 07:02 PM.
    How far that little candle throws his beams!
    So shines a good deed in a naughty world.


    The Merchant of Venice, V, i.

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  12. #551
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    I would want to see the production (or at least those first thirty minutes) before offering an opinion. It can certainly be distressing to evoke the concentration camps, and the Nazi approach to Wagner is the ultimate Regie cliche. Nonetheless, Stefan Herheim's Bayreuth Parsifal evoked (and exorcised) the Nazi spectre to great acclaim, and Philipp Stolzl's Berlin Rienzi also explored the whole Fascist mystique in a way I found very effective.

    It's unfortunate people were upset, but that doesn't necessarily mean nothing worthwhile was happening on stage.

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  14. #552
    Senior Member Involved Member Couchie's Avatar
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    While I wholly suspect this production strove to be nothing more than the typical headline-seeking vapid trash the discontinuation of which did everyone a favor, I admit it is a small shame we may never learn how the director would have handled the third act. I can buy Elisabeth's love redeeming Tannhauser's sexual indulgences... but genocide? Much harder to pull off.
    Doch dieses Wörtlein: und, -wär' es zerstört,
    wie anders als mit Isoldes eignem Leben wär' Tristan der Tod gegeben?

  15. #553
    Senior Member Involved Member Couchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    the Nazi approach to Wagner is the ultimate Regie cliche.
    Yes, attending Regie opera is a bit like reading middle school student essays. Every now and then you happen upon the rare gem that *doesn't* involve the Third Reich.

    OK, that's an exaggeration. Regie directors do explore a variety of settings, so long as everybody's wearing trench coats.
    Doch dieses Wörtlein: und, -wär' es zerstört,
    wie anders als mit Isoldes eignem Leben wär' Tristan der Tod gegeben?

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  17. #554
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    I would want to see the production (or at least those first thirty minutes) before offering an opinion. It can certainly be distressing to evoke the concentration camps, and the Nazi approach to Wagner is the ultimate Regie cliche. Nonetheless, Stefan Herheim's Bayreuth Parsifal evoked (and exorcised) the Nazi spectre to great acclaim, and Philipp Stolzl's Berlin Rienzi also explored the whole Fascist mystique in a way I found very effective.

    It's unfortunate people were upset, but that doesn't necessarily mean nothing worthwhile was happening on stage.
    While I haven't seen the production and had the exact same thought about the Parsifal and the Rienzi, there is at least an indication that something more serious was happening in this production, given the reaction of the opera house. Controversial productions have existed in many houses and many points of history... and some of them did not survive a relatively short run... but pulling the plug on a new production - for good - 30 minutes into it??? I'd expect that something rather extreme was going on.

    You know, the company plans for the production for months or even years, hires the singers, the accompanists for the rehearsals, the conductor, the director, does rehearsals, builds the sets, makes costumes, invests in publicity, etc., etc... After all this investment, usually at least they'll finish the run, or at the very least finish the opening night! So, this is a bit unusual, to cancel the whole thing after 30 minutes.

    Likely, the company knew what they were getting at, since of course they must have had dress rehearsals and such. So, it must have been that the public reacted so strongly that it scared the opera company's administration, maybe even afraid of liability - maybe they got fearful that members of the public might have heart attacks or strokes and the company would be sued (although, this is the American mindset, I'm not sure if this kind of fear of legal suits is prevalent in Germany), or that they'd engage in property destruction or would assault the artists.

    And then, what makes it even weirder is that the public in Germany is used to Regietheater... and like you said, other German productions have addressed the Nazi era... so, for this one to have caused such an extreme reaction, I don't want to just guess, but chances are that the concepts where quite extreme. Just think of Newton's Third Law of Motion... From the reaction, we may be able to gauge the stimulus.

    I do think we'll end up knowing more about this production, for the simple fact that there is no such thing as bad publicity. There will be people interested in it. Most likely some fringe group will be outraged at the opera company's action and will yell out loud about curtailment of creative freedom and censorship, and this production will get staged in its entirety elsewhere, at some point.

    One does get curious to know what made the German public react so strongly that the opera house called it quits - and rather fast... can you imagine? 30 minutes? Someone must have called the Board members, the intendant, etc., some emergency meeting must have been called on spot while the turmoil was going on, and then a decision was made to abort the whole thing. Pretty extreme...

    Anyway, again, I'm guessing. I'd love to know more - if anybody has more information, please post it here.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); May 9th, 2013 at 11:43 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  18. #555
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    OK, I learned this from The Times of Israel newspaper:

    "Monika Doll - spokeswoman for the Dusseldorf opera house - said the company of Deutsche Oper am Rhein is debating whether to tone down the provocative parts, added to the original by director Burkhard Kosminski. The head of the city’s Jewish community, Michael Szentei-Heise, criticized the show as “tasteless.”

    ------

    So it looks like the production will go on after all, minus the controversial parts.

    Or not. The LA Times is saying that the production will be music only from now on:

    ----------

    "A Nazi-themed production of the Wagner opera "Tannhauser" that featured scenes of gas chambers and the execution of a family has been canceled in Germany after some audience members had to receive medical treatment for shock.

    The Deutsche Oper am Rhein, a leading German opera house that performs in Duesseldorf, said in a statement that it could not justify artistic work with such an "extreme impact." It said it had asked director Burkhard Kosminski to tone down scenes but that he had refused.

    From Thursday onward, the opera was to be performed solely as a piece of music, without the staging, the opera house said.

    During the opera's opening Saturday evening, naked performers could be seen falling to the floor in glass cubes filled with white fog. One scene showed a family having their heads shaved and then being shot. The character of Venus, goddess of love, was depicted in a Nazi uniform and accompanied by SS thugs."

    ----------

    The Regie justified his vision by saying that he intended to depict Tannhäuser in a way that would be consistent with Wagner's values and beliefs. Huh... whaaaat??? So he has concluded that Wagner was for executions and gas chambers??? I'm not aware that Wagner's anti-semitism has ever reached these proportions.

    And how lame is it for the company to claim innocence now and say that they asked the director to not do those scenes, but he refused? Who is in charge of the company, after all? They could have just stood their grounds and said, "nope, you're not doing this, or else." So, now, they claim that they, er, asked politely, he refused, so that's why they went on with the production??

    ----------

    More updates - it seems like the company has decided for good to only continue the show as a concert piece, not just eliminate the controversial parts as the spokeswoman had said.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); May 10th, 2013 at 12:00 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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