Yesterday I went to a Met “live in HD” broadcast for the first time since The Nose two years ago. It was an interesting and ultimately rather depressing experience. This review really falls into two parts; a review of the production and performance, including how it was filmed for broadcast, and a piece on how the Met is “presenting” the work and how that seems to fit in with its overall HD strategy. The latter may turn into a bit of a rant.
Berndt Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten was something of a sleeper hit at the 2012 Salzburg festival and is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. It’s a peculiar work. It’s very episodic and requires massive forces. There are 16 singing and 10 non-singing roles, a 100 piece orchestra, a jazz band and more. At Salzburg the scale was magnified by staging it in the Felsenreitschule, using the full 40m width and enormous height of the stage. I’ve included some full stage shots in the screen caps to give an idea of how huge this all is. They can be expanded to full size Blu-ray caps (roughly three times the size of the image in the review).