domingo, 21 de agosto de 2011

Salzburgo - I

(Anne Schwanewilms, em A Mulher sem Sombra - Salzburgo, Agosto de 2011)

Terá sido da minha vista, porventura menos fina e atenta, mas a crise mundial parece ter afastado a imprensa dos festivais de Salzburgo e Bayreuth!

Até à data, apenas encontrei duas notícias consagradas ao festival austríaco! Quanto a Bayreuth, NADA! Dado que não domino o idioma alemão... Mesmo assim, mantenho a tese da crise famigerada, bode expiatório de todos os dissabores do mundo actual.

Posto isto, dado que me habituei a seguir os ditos festivais, aqui vão as novas. Desta feita, não recorro a critério algum, no tocante à divulgação dos eventos. Com tamanha escassez de divulgação...

Eis, assim, a crítica de A Mulher sem Sombra (Strauss, R.).

«Strauss and Hofmannsthal envisaged Die Frau ohne Schatten (“The Woman without a Shadow”) as an exotic fairy-tale, in the style of the Arabian Nights, embedding in it an allegory of the role of children within marriage (the shadow being a symbol of female fertility).

But in his extraordinary new production of this vast and complex work, Christof Loy strips the libretto of its coat of fantasy and re-clothes it in more modern dress. In a hall in the 1950s, a recording of the opera is being made. The singers are confronting their roles, which echo their own off-stage psychodramas: in particular, the naïve young soprano singing the childless Empress faces an education in human nature.

His conception doesn't hold water logically, and he resorts to all sorts of contortions ­ sudden dream sequences, arbitrary comings and goings - to paper over the cracks. One basic problem is his failure to find a metaphor for the supernatural agency on which the plot hangs.

But although I was often baffled and exasperated, I was never bored. The set is stunning, the acting mostly brilliant and the sheer audacity of it all exhilarating. Far better this, in any case, than the drearily predictable version of Macbeth which I'd seen the night before.

No such ambivalence attaches to Christian Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic. Both the score's thunderous tumults and its sweetness, stillness and simplicity were realised with unfaltering clarity and authority one wondered whether this music can ever been played better.

Anne Schwanewilms made a rather droopy Empress, pure in tone but cloudy of diction, and the stage was dominated by Evelyn Herlitzius, slight of figure but thrillingly heroic of voice, as the Dyer's Wife, and Michaela Schuster as the scheming Nurse. Wolfgang Koch was a sympathetic Barak, and Stephen Gould kept his dignity as the Emperor. Great careers loom for some of the excellent younger singers in smaller roles.

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