Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Berg - Wozzeck / Duesing K Ciesinski Banks R Hamilton R Davies Ormiston Peter Mussbach Sylvain Cambreling Frankfurt Opera|
Actors: Dale Duesing, Kristine Ciesninski, Frode Olsen, Barry Banks, Linda Ormiston
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
Berg?s war experiences gave him the compassion and loathing to write his first, terrifyingly great, opera, in which a devious world destroys a soldier?s sense of identity and turns him into a murderer. Peter Mussbach?s hig... more »
Harrowing, Gutwrenching Wozzeck
G P Padillo | Portland, ME United States | 01/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
Wozzeck is among my most beloved operas and I find this performance to be one of the very best. On a purely vocal level, no singer since Matt Harrell (to these ears) under Mitropoulos has sung the role quite as beautifully as Dale Duesing, (perhaps Dieskau I'd put here too).
The production feels like a nightmare - and the nightmare is Wozzeck's (and ours). The dramatic situations arise out of (and become part of) the symbolism here. If the symbolism seems particularly abstract or doesn't make sense to you the first (or last) go 'round, don't make too much of it: we already know (or should know!) what the story is about.
We here see Wozzeck throughout, primarily barefoot and in pyjamas (or less), which further enhances the idea of his wandering/dreamlike state.
Then there's the Captain, in an almost naked pink piggy costume - revolting, yet somehow matches his music. I believe this is how Wozzeck sees him and thus, so do we.
Duesing inhabits Wozzeck in his entirety. You route for him and it becomes not only frightening, but ultimately heartbreaking to watch his horrific, inhuman demise. Duesing turns the scene following Marie's murder ("Tanzt Alle; tanzt nur zu, springt, schwitzt und stinkt, es holt Euch doch noch einmal der Teufel!" into a true classic operatic mad scene. Watching this man have a complete emotional meltdown my blood runs cold. Duesing also does some remarkably physical stunts, hanging from one arm, climbing, crawling, jumping all over the stage like a gymnast - and clearly relishing/identifying the directors "concept."
This is a masterful, once-in-a- lifetime performance.
A stop-gap Wozzeck
Michael Garcia | 05/17/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The best word to decribe our reaction to this most likely made for TV production was "interresting". The sets are abstract, a large cube rotates between sceenes and there is much random movement of the characters. Dale Duesing is very expressive and most of the singers seem quite competent (although I did not follow this opera with a score)but this performance did not provide the searing emotional experience I hoped for. There is no booklet provided and sometimes subtitles obliterate the singers. The sound was good."
Bad sound and other issues detract from the power of this st
Steward Willons | Illinois | 02/08/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have very mixed feelings about this staging of Berg's masterpiece, Wozzeck. Some elements are inspired while others are in remarkably poor taste. Fortunately, the instrumental performance is one of the strengths. It's quite solid - not the best, but not the worst that I've heard. I realize that the vocalists are probably a matter of taste, but I thought they were a real weakness. Wozzeck passable, but the rest were, in my opinion, not up to the usual standard.
The staging was intriguing. The set is a cube shape rather than the traditional wide stage. This seems like a small matter, but it really creates a feeling of unrest. Subliminally, we know something isn't right. It also serves to shrink the performance space reinforcing the deeply interior nature of the work. The sets were minimalist, but they worked well evoking an almost "Cabinet of Doctor Caligary" look. Some sets worked better than others, but overall, it remained interesting.
The costumes were a very weak point. The captain wears a distractingly bizarre costume consisting of hot pink pants that look as though they've been inflated with an air compressor. The doctor is a Dr. Strangelove lookalike minus the wheelchair. While you can chalk these wardrobe choices to Wozzeck's distorted mental state, I think they could have been better without seeming so ridiculous.
The sound quality posed some big problems. The loud parts are audibly compressed meaning that right as the orchestra reaches the peak of its cresendo, the volume gets lopped off, thus ruining the dramatic impact. I'm rather surprised that no one has commented on this in the other reviews, as it is a major flaw. This occurs frequently, whenever a certain dynamic threshold is reached. It's not infrequent and it WILL distract you.
Finally, a word on the scene changes. Whenever the curtain is lowered, a CGI cube appears and rotates until the next scene begins. Not only is it a rather primitive CGI cube, but it's wrapped in an image of a rock's surface. Clearly, it's a standard image wrapped to the edges of the cube so that the top is distorted (because the image was not intended for three dimensional usage). I have no idea why the director thought this was a good idea. Certainly Berg's music is strong enough that we don't need a cheap screen saver graphic to keep us entertained!
Overall, this is one of the weaker stagings I've seen. I cannot recommend it to anyone other than the Berg completist who must view every version. Despite some of the favorable reviews posted here, I cannot agree. I recommend watching the Claudio Abbado version instead. It's still the gold standard."
Michael Garcia | Rutland, VT | 05/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Good production of the opera, especially if you are familiar with the score and story and are open to an abstract production.
The Captain is not shown being shaved. Instead, Wozzeck threatens him with the knife he eventually kills Marie with. The singing is mostly good and accurate(very difficult in this atonal work). Marie is a bit squally and The Captain screams rather than sings his extreme high notes. The doctor is well sung and is a menacing insect-like character. At the end, I felt, as I do whenever I hear/see Wozzeck, that it is one of the greatest opera dramas ever written."