Monday, October 02, 2006


So a quick note on NYCO's revival of Die Tote Stadt:

It's a bit like that one day in film class where they make you watch Maya Deren movies and a Stan Brakhage reel.

Meaning, it's interesting to look at and consider how it was probably relevant and provocative in the 70's.

Anyway, the impressionistic film images were fun for a good chuckle, even though it necessitated the ever-aggravating scenario in which an entire opera takes place behind a scrim.

More importantly, I guess, is that this opera is being performed at all. Listening to it live, I find it curious as to why more houses don't take advantage of its two major vehicles for soprano and tenor (sung here by Susan B. Anthony and Dan Chamandy, who I will only mention brielfy because their performances were adequate but for the most part underwhelming), and one of the more accessible and heartbreaking scores in the rep.

In the interest of brevity, I only have one more observation. The highlight of the evening, without a doubt, was opera hot baritone Keith Phares' gorgeous reading of "Mein Sehnen, Mein Wahnen" in the middle of the second act. Truly, the evening weas worth it for him. I guess he is best described as Nathan Gunn with a bit more vocal heft.

I am off to Idomeneo, Re of Sunshine. And I am running late.


Alex said...

Besides the obvious drawback of making your audience feel like they have some kind of degenerative eye disease, I think the real evil here is that keeping the scrim down is perhaps the greatest theatrical cocktease yet invented. We can all point to productions which judiciously used the scrim, and the ensuing immense gratification when it is finally lifted--"At the End of the Day", anyone?

But not granting your audience that satisfaction? Mass blueballs people. And that's just an f'd up thing to do to a paying crowd. Stop the madness!

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