I went to Die Frau ohne Schatten in Salzburg, and I wrote about it for Bachtrack.
This year’s festival brings a third complete Frau
to Salzburg, conducted by Christian Thielemann and directed by Christof
Loy. The Wiener Philharmoniker, the orchestra of the premiere, is in
the pit, and they and Thielemann were unquestionably the highlight of
You can read the rest here. A few more comments and more pictures right ahead.
First of all, the PR made out like Christof Loy based his production off a historical event–a recording in the legendary Sofiensaal–but that recording took place in the Musikverein. Details, details.
I was excited to see a big new production of Die Frau ohne Schatten, because of the music but also because it’s both a very difficult work to stage and one that presents a lot of opportunities for cool stuff. As the woman sitting behind me said, in English, “they have this fantastic production in LA, when the Empress talks about fish, there are the fish!” Well, maybe that’s not quite what I was thinking of. Actually this opera has a lot of problems, like how women’s sole purpose in life is baby-making and if they do not devote their full attentions to baby-making they are BAD. Director Loy even points out that this should not fly today in his program book interview. I agree! But I don’t think his solution of simply declining to stage most of the opera in favor of yet another theater-in-theater setting is any kind of solution at all. He doesn’t even seem interested in the piece, and there’s nothing really to make us interested in it. I found this vaguely offensive, like he had just refused to do the job which he had been assigned.
But the music was, indeed, fantastic.
When is Herheim going to get around to directing this one? Just a suggestion, opera houses of the world.
|Theater-in-theater business (Empress)|
|Don’t ask. I can’t explain. (Dyer’s Wife)|
|The score DID sound vaguely Elektra-like upon the axe’s first appearance.|
|Michaela Schuster makes the awesomest facial expressions.|
|There is perhaps something interesting being said in this stage image, but what it is beats me.|
Photos copyright Monika Rittershaus/Salzburg Festival