Woe unto him who conceals deserts

coverWolfgang Rihm’s Dionysos is described by him as “eine Opernphantasie”.  It certainly isn’t an opera in the conventional sense lacking, as it does, anything resembling a plot.  It’s a staged setting of poems by Nietzsche written just before his final descent into madness (if one considers that’s not where he was from the start!).  Rihm conceives this as four scenes each dealing with a different “element” in Nietzscean terms.  The four are Water, a scene set on a lake; Air, a mountain scene; Intimate Space, a scene in a brothel; and Public Space, set in a town square.  So, episodic and linked only by a certain kind of mood and the characters.  The weight of the piece is carried by “N”, a baritone role.  he interacts variously with  a amle guest who doubles as Apollo and a high soprano who doubles as Ariadne.  In addition there is a trio of ladies; high soprano, mezzo, contralto, who play various roles from pseudo Rhinemaidens to tarts.

Continue reading