Each of the German capital’s opera houses has a signature production of the Mozart crowd-pleaser. Barenboim’s Staatsoper unter den Linden has just launched another version, to run in tandem with August Everding’s classic production in Schinkel’s original stage design.
First reviews slate Yuval Sharon’s new show as an unmitigated disaster, but it could have a good outcome. Questions are being asked – finally – about the degree of duplication and the lack of coordination between Berlin’s manifold musical institutions. It’s chaos out there.
They need to instal something like London’s clash system.
UPDATE: Shirley Apthorp in the FT:
Sharon’s idea is that the whole thing is a marionette show presented by children. The singers hang on strings, move jerkily, fly through the air; the dialogue is spoken by pre-recorded offstage children’s voices. It is technically complex, utterly incoherent and musically fatal. Even if the singers were not obviously terrified, suspended in mid-air, exhausted and apparently able to hear neither the orchestra nor each other, the conducting would have scuppered them….
There are a great many conductors out there with both experience and Mozart expertise who could have taken over for the ailing Franz Welser-Möst. De la Parra floundered from the very first chord. She has no ability to bring shape and tension to a phrase, no sense of which tempi might work for the singers, and no idea what to do when things fall apart — which they do, with appalling frequency.
Read on here.