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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Instrumental Armies Do battle at Amsterdam’s Opera

His stirring, confident “La Morte d’Orfeo” shared some features he has utilized in works rather distinct from Landi’s, like Messiaen’s “St. François d’Assise.” gleaming, lacquer-shimmering black plastic sheets appeared as soon as once more, this time as a scenic backdrop that allowed choose colorations of the stage design to pop with vibrancy — like a suspended wintry tree sprouting in diverse instructions, suggesting both Earth and the underworld.

Guiding affecting performances from the solid, Audi’s interpretive hand become not heavy. particular standouts on the Sunday matinee blanketed a sweeping sense of melodic line from the baritone Renato Dolcini and the controlled viciousness of the countertenor Kacper Szelazek. The bright heat of the mezzo-soprano Cecilia Molinari’s tone was put to ample use as she become given a four-role marathon that included Eurydice.

In directing “The Raft of the Medusa,” Romeo Castellucci adopted an occasional approach of Audi’s: steal anything that isn't really an opera, squint at it, and make it one. right here, Henze’s oratorio in regards to the shipwrecked conscripts of the frigate Medusa in 1816 — you likely comprehend the traditional Géricault portray — changed into linked to modern political considerations via a film of Castellucci’s, projected on a scrim on the entrance of the stage.

in the film the athlete Mamadou Ndiaye languished in roughly the same patch of sea where the Medusa once disintegrated, off the coast of Senegal, whereas Henze’s characters congregated on either side of the screen. The filmed presence of Ndiaye, evoking existing-day refugees in existing-day waters, slices through one of the vital ’twas-ever-hence fatalism of Henze’s socialist critique. by means of inserting modern photos front and core, the staging reopens these historic questions, as if to ask: have to it all the time be this fashion?

After unique opening minutes, the staging lost coherence for a stretch. It wasn’t normally clear which of Henze’s characters had been dead and which were dwelling. Henze’s vividly aggrieved string writing, stacked with eerie harmonics and col legno abrasion, had more influence than one of the vital photos; the conductor, Ingo Metzmacher, and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra drew intense drama from these passages.

photo a gently surreal staging of Stefano Landi’s “La Morte d’Orfeo” changed into directed by using Pierre Audi, the outgoing leader of the Dutch countrywide Opera. credit score Ruth Walz

there is an arresting flip near the end. throughout the work, the personality of dying sung with steely urgency with the aid of the soprano Lenneke Ruiten is dressed as a digital camera-toting cable information anchor. When Castellucci makes what seems an obtrusive flow — turning the digicam on the seats, implicating the audience — he doesn’t present the live feed we may are expecting; instead, the seats appear empty.

The impact goes past difficult the audience’s politics, and as a substitute calls its very existence into doubt. here, the staging completed an abstract power completely in response to the hallucinations of the libretto. The reimagining wasn’t quite as useful as Audi’s 2014 recasting of Schoenberg’s cantata “Gurre-Lieder” as an opera. however the highest quality moments came shut.

whereas it didn’t have the equal dramatic influence, the double invoice of “concern in Tahiti” and “Clemency” also boasted a powerful cast, including the persuasively haunted soprano Turiya Haudenhuyse, who didn’t overdo the angry temper that can also be without problems overindulged in portrayals of Dinah, Bernstein’s claustral 1950s housewife.

by the point Opera ahead eventually acquired to the chunk of Stockhausen, the biggest shock wasn’t that it truly came about, however that it spoke to the leisure of the works in the festival.

“Tuesday” is an opera of conflict between two of the characters riding the whole “Licht” cycle. There’s Michael, a tenor role and sometimes a unfastened stand-in for Stockhausen himself, who tends to be accompanied through some tricky trumpet enjoying. Lucifer is the demonic avatar of creative destruction: a bass voice shadowed by way of trombones. In “Invasion-Explosion With Farewell,” their respective instrumental armies do battle atop an eight-channel, encompass-sound digital composition.

On Sunday night, Michael, Lucifer and their warring groups snaked around the viewers, which changed into seated on stage. The players engaged in volleys of crashing, loud confrontations separated by way of muted retreats. The omnidirectional swirl of music, which additionally included percussion and distended keyboard tones, become the highest quality live Stockhausen performance I’ve heard; it had all the crazed complexity of a piece like “Gruppen,” however with a transparent dramatic via line.

When one in all Michael’s trumpeters is wounded, Eva, the maternal persona in “Licht,” emerges to present some comfort. The soprano Pia Bohnert’s frivolously amplified efficiency of this section sounded like an outer-house cousin of Calliope’s mourning in “La Morte d’Orfeo.” As Audi has long proven, bringing opera forward doesn’t simply contain new works, though next 12 months brings Gyorgy Kurtag’s lengthy-awaited adaptation of Beckett’s “Endgame,” after its premier this fall in Milan. It additionally skill finding connections between styles and intervals frequently concept incompatible.

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