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    Schigolch
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    Modern and Contemporary Opera on DVD, blu-ray, and CD

    The Passenger by Weinberg

    Michelle Breedt (Lisa)
    Roberto Sacca (Walter)
    Elena Kelessidi (Martha)
    Artur Rucinski (Tadeusz)
    Svetlana Doneva (Katja)
    Angelica Voje (Krzystina)
    Elzbieta Wroblewska (Vlasta)
    Talia Or (Ivette)
    Agnieska Rehlis (Hannah)
    Helen Field (Old Woman)
    Liuba Sokolova (Bronka)

    Vienna Symphony Orchestra & Prague Philharmonic Choir, Conductor: Teodor Currentzis
    Stage Director: David Pountney

    The Polish-Russian composer Mieczysław Weinberg wrote Pasażerka, (The Passenger), in 1968, but it was not premiered on stage until 2010, at the Bregenzer Festspiele, 14 years after Weinberg's death. The libretto was written by Alexander Medvedev, who was more fortunate, but died just five days after the premiere.

    Based on a tale by a Polish survivor from Auschwitz, Zofia Posmysz, it relates the encounter in the 1950s, aboard an ocean liner, of a married German couple, Lisa and Walter, with Martha, a former inmate of a concentration camp where Lisa, unbeknownst to her husband, was a guard. The story moves along in two planes: the present, where Lisa must confess her guilt to Walter, and find a way to live with the things she did to Marta, and the past, where we see the life in the concentration camp and the death of Martha's boyfriend on a whim of the commander.

    For Weinberg, this was extremely personal, as both his parents and a sister were killed in the Nazi death camps. The score is powerful, tense, bare of any ornament. But at the same time, with some beautiful and lyrical moments, like the encounter between Martha and her boyfriend, and her delicate aria, along with heavy dramatic parts, like the gloomy night in the third scene.

    The staging by David Pountney is fantastic, with the luminous deck of the liner, and the dark interior, where the Auschwitz's scenes are played. The orchestra and singers offer us a good team performance. The Opera is sung in German, English, French, Russian and Yiddish, each character in their own language.

    Overall: B+. Recommended for all Opera lovers.

    A few days ago, there was the first staging in the UK, at ENO. This is the trailer of the production:

    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); October 21st, 2014 at 04:42 PM.

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