The Devil is in Munich’s detail

The Devil is in Munich’s detail


norman lebrecht

June 26, 2022

Message from Bavarian State Opera:

Wolfgang Koch, who was supposed to sing the part of the Grandier, unfortunately had to cancel the premiere due to illness. Krzysztof Penderecki’s opera The Devils of Loudun has been performed only a few times since its premiere in 1969, which made the search for singers who knew the role difficult. This led to an unusual solution: Robert Dölle, from the Residenztheater ensemble, will scenically portray the role of Grandier. Jordan Shanahan will sing the part from the side of the stage.


  • Hugo Preuß says:

    I have seen that “unusual solution” several times on stage in a variety of operas. Not ideal, granted, but not a big problem either.

    • Lilas Pastia says:

      The “unusual” is probably that an actor who is not originally part of the production will play the part, while someone is singing from the pit or from the side. Usually the mute plater will be the director’s assistant or indeed the indisposed singer himself. Importing someone from the outside who does not sing the part is unusual.

  • MMcGrath says:

    Oh so not worth it. Check out the Hamburg premiere on YouTube with the glorious Tatiana Troyanos. In Munich: 80 pct unsold tickets, cast changes. An expensive and embarrassing caprice for the heavily tax payer-funded Staatsoper. A betrayal of that trust.

    • Cynical Bystander says:

      For the first time in over 20 years of attending the Munich Festival I can never remember one with so many available seats. No doubt in part due to the post Covid situation but maybe what Dorny feels he can inflict on the House is not what the audience is too willing to put up with. The choice of reportory is one thing, the provocateurs now épater les bourgeois is another. Empty seats are only the beginning of the end of a golden period at BSO I suspect.

      • Don Ciccio says:

        I believe the choice of The Devils of Loudun was actually Jurowski’s, who actually conducted it previously at the Komische Oper in Berlin.

        Personally, I would have attended, though the pictures of the production that I saw are not promising.

        The opera however could be a great metaphor in this age of cancel culture and mob justice.

    • Imbrod says:

      Audience looks pretty full, if not sold out, for the premiere. Not every opera goer requires tuneful fluff all the time.