Through Das Opernglas

If you can read German and are interested in the German-speaking world’s opera scene, you would probably enjoy the monthly magazine Das Opernglas.  (I have heard that Opernwelt is better, but it costs 24 Euros per issue, so I’m probably not going to find out if that’s true or not.)  If you can’t read German, you should take a look at it anyways because the pictures are hilll-arious.  Let’s have a look at November’s issue.

Das Opernglas largely uses publicity photos in articles as well as ads, so there are a lot of egos on the loose.  Their cover photos, however, are usually better than those of Opera News, and possibly even eye-catching for people who do not belong to a country club, rarely featuring furs, little dogs, or pastels.  This month, however, is odd:

Oh, Angela!  I’ve been staring at her glasses for 10 minutes and I still can’t figure out if the red parts form a pattern or not.  In the interview inside, she goes very quickly from saying she can’t sing sacred music (Verdi Requiem excepted) because it isn’t glamorous enough to saying that classical music is good for the soul while pop music is good for the body.  I guess she has a glamorous soul?  You can read excerpts of the interview on the website (click on Aktuelles Heft, then Interviews).

The ads are even better, picture-wise.  This is on the other side of the front cover:

When Berlin dreams, it looks like this.  (Coincidentally, these two images sum up my upcoming travel plans!  Call me unoriginal.)

There are glamorous headshots:

These CDs both look like buckets of fun, don’t they?

Many of the reviewed productions look like Regie bonanzas:

This one is a little obvious for a Parterre Regie quiz, but I think ALL Brünnhildes should wear aprons with flames on them.

But this one?  Hmmmmm.  (It’s Boito’s Mefistofele, from Gelsenkirchen, which makes more sense than many other things would.)

It’s not all pictures, if you care about the workings of seemingly every opera house in Germany there’s lots of news, and the reviews are genuinely interesting.  There’s another interview, with Andreas Stoehr, whom I heard conduct Emma di Resburgo last weekend.  There is also a somewhat devastating review of the Lepage’s contribution to the Met Rheingold, by Fred Plotkin: “ Like most of the productions of the Gelb era, there is innovative glitter, exquisite musical values, high costs, and with that very mundane visual tricks that immediately distract… the production offers such technical gimmickry and effects before a proper narration of the events.”  (Did I not call this?)

Opernglas costs E 6.50 if you’re in Germany and E 7.20 in Austria (sigh).  If you’re in New York, they have it at the Met shop.  (It says $6 on it, but they charge $10.  I have complained about this multiple times, though $10 for an international magazine isn’t really that bad.)

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  1. Hm, maybe I will start complaining gently about the Met shop price too! The international subscription fee was hefty enough to give me pause, though it's good to know that gems of information and entertainment are routinely to be found. (My last investment was the double summer issue with Neuenfels and Kaufmann interviews.)

  2. It cost $6 before they renovated the place in 2008. Then they didn't have it for months and months and then it returned, more expensive.

    Honestly, this issue wasn't particularly interesting, that's why I ended up focusing on the pictures. However, the Angela interview is an unintentional laugh a minute.

  3. At the Wiener Staatsoper shop. Opernglass is 7.20, Opernwelt 24 something (AKA six nights in standing room). I looked twice when I saw it too, but later I saw it at the giant newsstand at the Westbahnhof for the same price. Maybe I'll get it next time I'm in Germany, then…

  4. Wow! Madness! Well, you are in Muc anyhow soon, otherwise I could send you one I suppose. I like it that someone writes from Vienna now! (I also follow London, Milan and Gesamtkunstwerk, not sure were that is based.)
    I personally prefer Opernglas a little bit because it I like the layout better etc. With regards to reviews and such it depends, same difference I would say :), although sometimes the ones in Opernwelt are spot-on.