A weirdly eclectic Fidelio

I’m really not sure what to make of Jürgen Flimm’s 2004 production of Fidelio for the Zürich Opera House.  It’s not offensive and it doesn’t really get in the way of the story but it seems quite devoid of originality beyond mixing styles in a way one might describe as anachronistic if one could figure out when synchronistic would be.  Rocco wears a sort of frock coat with, apparently, goatskin pants, Marzellina’s dress looks probably 20th century, bolt action magazine fed rifles are apparently muzzle loaded and metal cartridge cases filled by hand.  Then to cap it off when Don Fernando shows up he looks like he’s stepped straight out of a Zeffirelli production of Der Rosenkavalier.  So “nul points” for coherence.  For once one rather appreciates that so much of the action takes place in the dark.

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Vogt and Nylund bring dead city to life

Kasper Holten shows his customary inventiveness in his production of Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt, recorded at Finnish National Opera in 2010.  He places the whole opera inside Paul’s “Marie museum” with a chaotic, higgledy, piggledy model of the the city of Brugge as a back wall.  He emphasises the dream elements of acts 2 and 3 through devices such as having the troupe of players and their boat emerge through Paul’s bed or assorted ecclesiastics popping up randomly in the “city model”.  He also inserts a non-speaking Marie who is present throughout the piece, often to very interesting effect.

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