sábado, 2 de janeiro de 2010

From the House of the Dead - Met Opera House

(From the House of the Dead - Met Opera House, Dezembro de 2009)

Enfim, a mítica encenação de Chéreau de
From the House of the Dead (Janacek) viu a luz do dia no Met. Uma estreia a três níveis: da própria ópera (e respectiva mise-en-scène, claro está) e de Patrice Chéreau, o excelso encenador francês, tão amplamente referenciado neste blog.

O leitor atento terá dado por referências (aqui e aqui) a esta extraordinária encenação, também neste espaço, por ocasião da sua comercialização.

«Mr. Chéreau’s staging is set entirely among three towering concrete walls, the work of Richard Perduzzi (the set designer of the Bondy “Tosca”). It seemed so linked to the arresting musical performance Mr. Salonen drew from the brilliant Met orchestra that it is hard to discuss them separately.

So to start with the opera itself — Janacek’s last, which had its premiere in 1930, two years after his death at 74 — it was a wild idea to make such a version of Dostoyevsky’s unwieldy novel in the first place. The book is a first-person narrative with observations so detailed that the writing reads like reportage. The narrator is a nobleman, Alexander Petrovich Gorianchikov. In the opera he has a small but crucial role. Janacek takes on most of the narrator’s job, using his orchestra to propel and comment on the story.

In composing voice parts for his characters, Janacek obsessively mimicked the rhythms and contours of the Czech language. Much of the vocal writing, sung here in the original Czech, sounds like pitched speech. To provide impetus and continuity, the orchestra churns away constantly beneath the vocal lines. Fragments of melody and rhythmic licks are fashioned into a collagelike orchestral fabric. Ostinato figures are repeated endlessly.

On one level, the repetition conveys the drudgery and routine of prison life. Yet in another way — especially as conducted by Mr. Salonen with such visceral character and pungent textures — the repetitive riffs evoke the thoughts that get stuck in the minds of the prisoners: resentments, violent fantasies, feelings of betrayal, isolation and yearning.

The inhabitants of this house of the dead are anything but comatose. Forced to live together, they form a complex community rife with rivalries and dependencies, fueled by a black market of traded goods. In the opera, as in the novel, the prisoners spend much time telling the stories of their lives. “From the House of the Dead” is the ultimate ensemble opera.

Still, three characters stand out, and each tells a long, involved story of how he wound up in prison. The other inmates pay attention or do not. But the implication is that these stories are recycled again and again.

In Act II, for example, the prisoner Skuratov, a soldier, tells of having fallen for a German washerwoman, who was forced by her family to marry a rich relative. So he murdered his rival. The orchestral music buttressing his story has hints of Slavic folk songs and melodic turns that spin in cyclic patterns. You can almost hear the orchestra, on behalf of the other prisoners, saying, “There he goes again.”

Yet Skuratov’s fellow prisoners mostly listen, except for one drunk, who shouts, incongruously, “Lies, all lies.” The surprising uplift in this bitter opera comes through in pitiable scenes like this.

There is no real plot and not much action. Still, Mr. Chéreau’s production captures the volatile mix of restless tension and crushing boredom within this oppressed environment. That the prisoners wear no uniforms, just ragtag garments, lends humdrum individuality to each member.

Mr. Chéreau has added 20 actors to the roster of vocal soloists and choristers to fill the stage with people and activity. The prisoners even put on entertainments, including a campy Don Juan play in drag. In one scene, prisoners arrive fresh from baths, looking scrubbed and bedraggled, some in underwear, some naked and embarrassed. That even in this prison they cling to a shred of privacy was a poignant touch in the staging.»

2 comentários:

blogger disse...

foi através de ti que tive conhecimento desta ópera, e de uma gravação em dvd com esta mesma encenação, e como pude constatar, trata-se de uma obra muitíssimo interessante, a começar logo pela abertura quase que rude e áspera e que ao mesmo tempo nos prende. Toda esta ópera é quase como uma partilha de histórias individuais, não havendo muita acção, o que não invalida com que não fiquemos comovidos ou sintamos simpatia pelas personagens.
Eu pessoalmente gosto muito de Dostoievsky, e ter a oportunidade de ver um dos seus livros adaptados, torna-se uma mais valia.

Il Dissoluto Punito disse...


Fico feliz por teres apreciado e degustado, por sugestão minha ;-)