Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart - Bastien und Bastienne / Der Schauspieldirector |
Actors: Bernhard Berchtold, Aleksandra Zamojska, Evmorfia Metaxaki, Radu Cojocariu
Directors: Thomas Reichert, Elisabeth Fuchs
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
An interesting idea that does not quite work
J. H. Gaulard | London United Kingdom | 01/09/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Second DVD of the M22 Salzburg, this Mozart "double bill" of two rarely-performed operas is not a high-point of this very prestigious collection. This is not anybody's fault really, because the stage concept was interesting: performing the "Schauspieldirektor" as a selection process for the singers who would sing in "Bastien und Bastienne" was quite smart. More importantly though, both operas are performed at the Salzburg puppet theatre and the puppets are effectively on stage, acting "with" the singers or acting "for" them (in the latter case the singers would simply dub their puppets). Clearly it seemed like a good idea to involve puppets and string-pulling in a plot (casting!) that has so much to do with a master & servant relationship...Also because the stage director decided to rewrite the dialogues of Schauspieldirektor to make it more "topical", one would think that the resulting performance should be very good... And indeed the best part of the whole performance are the first 45 minutes...mostly spoken! The comedy has wit and pace and is helped by the antics of Alfred Kleinheinz, an excellent actor!
The problem is that as soon as the music takes over, the interest wanes. This is due to three factors, in the humble opinion of the reviewer: first, there is too much of a contrasting style between Schauspieldirektor, coming from Mozart's mature years, and Bastien & Bastienne, reasonably eventless work of a 12-year old. These two operas do not really work well together.
The second - more problematic issue lies in the fact that the attention span of both singers and audience is reduced by the interaction with the puppets. The staging does not really know what do: privilege the puppets? Privilege the singers? Do both? The production tries to do everything and therefore does not do anything well. The singers are obsessed by singing "in tune" with their puppets and this is detrimental to the musical quality.
Lastly, contrary to what we have heard of the M22 collection so far, the musical quality of the performance leaves a lot to be desired: Aleksandra Zamojska cannot sing the part of Bastienne and past a certain level she is shouting her way through the evening. The orchestra of the Junge Philharmonie Salzburg is also way too lightweight and Elisabeth Fuchs' conducting lacks energy. Not everything is bad though: the beautiful soprano of Evmorfia Metaxaki ought to be heard in a more deserving environment while Radu Cojocariu is an impressive, sonorous Buff, showing a lovely, warm deep voice. As for Metaxaki, we hope to hear him again in better circumstances.
Overall a disappointing evening despite a very good idea initially.
Nina Nanakida | Vacaville, CA | 02/17/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This production was very creative, but it might not be welcomed by the traditionalists. At first it was hard to watch because of my own concepts on what an opera should be like. Once I could go beyond my small mindedness and open my heart to the creative idea and focus on the music it was good. I realize I should explain this better. The puppets were the characters on stage and the singers except for Colas who sang with the puppets, sang behind the orchestra. It was interesting how Bastien und Bastienne was inserted within Der Schauspieldirector. It seemed to work. The singers were very good, especially on the coloratura runs."