Karajan’s Walküre – 50 years on

To quote a quite different opera, “it is a curious story”.  In 1967 a production of Wagner’s Die Walküre, heavily influenced by Herbert von Karajan [1] who conducted the Berlin Philharmonic for the performances, opened the very first Osterfestspiele Salzburg.  50 years later it was “remounted” with Vera and Sonja Nemirova directing.  I use inverted commas because it’s actually not entirely clear how much was old and how much new.  It might be more accurate to describe it as a homage to the earlier version.  In any event, it was recorded, in 4K Ultra HD, no less and released as one of the very first opera discs in that format.

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Petitbon’s Lulu

Vera Nemirova’s production of Berg’s Lulu was recorded in the Haus für Mozart at Salzburg in 2010.  It’s presented in the now conventional three act version completed by Friedrich Cerha.  The sets are painterly, including in Act 1 a giant painting of the title character.  Lighting is used to create a very distinct palette for each scene and the detailed direction of the actors is careful and effective.  I didn’t see any big ideas but then on this video recording, if there had been any, they would likely have been lost in the incessant close ups and strange camera angles.  One “trick” perhaps is that much of the action in Act 3 Scene 1 takes place in the auditorium with a fair bit of confusion as the actors hand out fake cash to the punters.  This is, of course, the scene where the glitterati go broke so perhaps some irony is intended.

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