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And then the Puma comes

And suddenly blur the boundaries between music theatre and timeliness: At the Opera house, it was in the final rehearsals to Handel's "Belshazzar", as in the Syrian Barisha of the IS-leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blew up in the air. As the Pentagon released grainy images of the action, was the photo of the dead Belshazzar ready for the Premiere, the big screen on the stage. In the bloody shirt of the tyrannical crown Prince of Babylon is, no one has closed the eyes. A humiliating image. You think you hear the Persian winner Cyrus say, Belshazzar had whine before his death.

But no, in this case, he has sung. And celebrated, got drunk, tormented. Babylon is wallowed in the decadence in this 1745 in London, premiered the oratorio, which was not actually intended for a staged implementation, but is perfectly suitable for it. The costume designer Christina Schmitt obviously had Fun with it, not to miss the rampant Babylonians glitter fabrics and fur capes, Rasta hairstyles and tribal masks. And also of the Lucerne Tenor Mauro Peter as Belshazzar goes All the way: His voice betrays the Lust for Excess, his Gestures those in Power.

Mauro Peter as the Belshazzar of the Whole. Photo: Herwig Prammer

his Uniform with many medals is very reminiscent of those of the (after the slaughter also photographed) Libyan ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi wore like, is undoubtedly not a coincidence. Anyway nothing to chance in this production, which acts at the beginning of time mentally chic and in the course of nearly three hours, there is always more explosive, harder, sharper even. Sebastian Baumgarten has designed, and he has not saved once more with historical allusions and References, with citations and montages, with theoretical and multi-media substructure.

history does not happen, it is played

it is important to him that Daniel, the seer, and leader, was in Babylon captive Jews, long as the author of the biblical book of Daniel. In Baumgarten's view, this Daniel is a Director who makes a movie about the fall of Belshazzars. The story is not done so, you will be played: a dangerous Gimmick that could take the piece a lot of its force. A not-really-necessary Gimmick, too: While the film deposits in the tree garden, the Zurich staging of Kurt Weill's "Mahagonny" sharpened the wit of the piece, around the buzzing stop someone with the live camera. It would go without.

But after all, it does not interfere. For Baumgarten, has not lost in its ideas and images. He knows what he wants to tell and how he can do it. Barbara Steiner's stage, he represents the unbridled Babylonians highly disciplined Persian attackers in black faux leather: the agile agent of Good, that is not beyond all doubt. And then the captive Jews, the sweaters with portraits of Karl Marx, or Anna Seghers, Albert Einstein or Anne Frank because, of Lauren Bacall or Fritz Lang to wear: as a representative of a history to remind the world currently, in fact, again.

The effect is all the more powerful, as Baumgarten strong allies. The conductor Laurence Cummings, especially with the Orchestra La Scintilla, a highly emotional, highly concentrated performance. Also by Janko Kastelic-prepared choir, you can only boast for its sonic sophistication, for his good memory, for his scenic and musical presence.

There is probably no better piece of political and religious stubbornness.

And finally, there is Georg Friedrich Handel, whose music is far more than just gorgeous. The first recitative, which describes each rule as transitory, one would have to perform strongly in the Powerful of this world. Or the fantastic duet between Belshazzar and his mother Nicotris: "Remember", to sing both, and appeal to very different truths. There is probably no better piece of political and religious stubbornness.

especially when it is sung as it is here. Mauro Peter and Layla Claire as a gift-nothing can incite from the orchestra, and boost each other up to the most intense musical Moment of the Evening. The most quiet, however, the Alto Tuva Semmingsen delivers as Daniel, its not a particularly large voice begins in the key scene of the prophecy how to glow from the inside out.

The most virtuosic of appearance, finally, of the Polish counter-tenor Jakub Józef Orlinski, as the Persian ruler Cyrus: His coloratura, his athletic leap of the (Berlin) wall, his mad campaign of conquest on a giant Puma to be rewarded in the end with frenetic jubilation.

The Opera house-workshops have once again outdone themselves: Jakub Józef Orlinski, as Cyrus conquered Babylon on a Puma. Photo: Herwig Prammer

a is true, and swallows at the same time empty. Because of this, Cyrus has reacted very irritated at the choir, which has declared after his victory to God as king: Had not he deserves this title? The song then he needs to see. And in the Background images of Wars, hurricanes and falling icebergs flicker on the screen.

So Babylon is gone under. But what comes after that has to do with the Baroque works, the compulsory Happy ending for a lot.

Created: 04.11.2019, 13:36 PM

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