King Arthur in Berlin

Purcell’s King Arthur contains some wonderful music but it also poses real staging issues.  How much of the play that the music supports does one include?  How to contextualise the unfamiliar version of the King Arthur story?  How to deal with the rather crude nationalism?  Sven-Eric Bechtolf and Julian Crouch come up with a very interesting approach for their 2017 production at the Staatsoper Berlin.

1.spitfire

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Shattering Parsifal

Dmitri Tcherniakov’s 2015 production of Wagner’s Parsifal recorded at the Staatsoper in Berlin in 2015 left me emotionally drained as I don’t think I’ve ever been after watching a recording.  I can only imagine what it must have been like to experience this live.  The combination of the production, exceptional singing and acting and Daniel Barenboim’s conducting is quite exceptional.  It’s not going to be easy to unpack it all coherently but here goes…

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Chill out dude

The problem with reviewing Doris Dörrie’s 2002 Berlin production of Così fan tutte is that pretty much everything that can be said about it already has been.  It’s like trying to write about Willy Decker’s “red dress” Traviata.  So I’ll try and be brief and to the point.  On the surface the idea is a bit outlandish.  Mozart and da Ponte’s satire about sexual fidelity is updated to the 1970s though to me, who grew up in the 70s, it seems much more like the 60s.  That said, it works.  It’s lively, funny, musically top notch and the presentation on DVD is very decent.

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