If you are going to be crazy, do it properly

In 1884 Ludwig II of Bavaria put on a spectacular outdoor show for his guests at Herrenchiemsee.  It featured perhaps the first use of electric light outdoors in a spectacular lighting plot designed by Edison trained Alois Zettler.  That’s the jumping off point for Des Königs Zauberflöte.  So now imagine, as was not uncommon in the 19th century, that the aristocratic guests had decided to put on a spectacular amateur performance of Die Zauberflöte.  Ok, it’s not that probable that Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife, let alone Otto von Bismarck,would have performed but hang in there.  Now suppose, through some warp of time, space and imagination that the “real” Papageno had shown up and pointed out loudly, and at length, that’s not really what happened.  And so we get Enoch zu Guttenberg’s reimagining of Mozart and Schikaneder’s iconic work that played at Munich’s Prinzregententheater in 2013.


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Turandot in the Forbidden City

Being an opera lover would probably be easier if I liked Puccini more, given how much air, DVD and stage time his works get, but I really struggle with him.  I think it’s that concepts like “subtlety”, “elegance”, “verisimilitude” and “cultural sensitivity” completely passed him by.  In an Italian setting his bombast and melodrama are somewhat made up for by the catchy tunes but move him to China or Japan or the United States and my ability to override my reality chip fails me.  Which is a long winded way of saying Turandot is not my favourite opera.

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