Der Messias

Der Messias is the German version of Handel’s Messiah as arranged by Mozart.  The translation dates from 1775 and is by Klopstock and Ebeling drawing heavily on the Lutheran Bible.  My German isn’t good enough to say how “archaic” it sounds to a modern German speaker but it certainly seems to be quite singable.  In any event it was presented in Salzburg during this year’s Mozartwoche in a staged version by Robert Wilson.  The arrangement adds a substantial wind section and changes the voice parts in places.  For example Doch wer mag entraten (But who may abide) is given to the bass rather than one of the high voices.

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A different take on Tosca

For quite some time I have wondered whether it’s possible to reinterpret Puccini’s Tosca or whether the specificity as to time and place in the libretto makes it effectively impossible?  Indeed I had never even seen it tried.  All this despite the many and obvious anachronisms in the libretto.  All the Toscas I had seen were clearly set in Rome in that one week in 1800 (or at least the implausible version of it that’s contained in the libretto)!  Phillip Himmelmann’s production for the 2017 Baden-Baden Easter Festival breaks the mould in giving it a contemporary, or perhaps near future, setting.

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