It’s in the blood

I guess previous times I’ve seen Janáček’s Jenůfa I haven’t really noticed the role that the idea of “bad blood” or inherited depravity plays in the plot but it’s there almost as starkly as in certain works by Zola and Buchan.  Perhaps one of the strengths of Christof Loy’s very clean 2014 production for the Deutsche Oper is that it tends to show up such details.  It’s certainly a very low key setting.  All the action takes place in a plain white room with minimal furnishing.  Costuming is modern (sort of); maybe 1950s or so.  Sometimes one gets a hint of rather more going on on the edge of the stage but Brian Large’s typically close up video direction makes it hard to be sure.  So, at least on disk, it’s all about the characters and their interactions and they are drawn pretty clearly.

jenufa1

Continue reading

Can Bayreuth really tackle Meistersinger?

Die Meistersinger is a problematic opera, particularly for Bayreuth.  It has rather disturbing elements of German nationalism and a performance tradition at the festival of those being used for ends that most people would rather be able to forget.  No surprise then that Katharina Wagner’s production, recorded in 2008, tries to deal with both.  It’s a bold effort.  Like Robert Carsen’s Tannhäuser it tries to use visual art as a metaphor for music and art in general.

1.walther Continue reading