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Babylon at the Berlin state Opera : The city is in need of an Update

Would be inhabited Babylon still, some would say, perhaps, the city had to reinvent itself. Or, if you are younger: you need an Update. In fact, her Image is problematic, as a Synonym for cesspool your Name is no good today; a television series is equal to that of Berlin in the title with Babylon. Other attributions: Hybris and violence reign.

to blame for the bad press the Old Testament is, of course. It tells the story of the tower of Babel as a Symbol of human Megalomania, in addition, the Hebrews had to languish here for several decades in captivity. And the book of revelation calls Babylon the "Great harlot", if you mean by that, probably Rome. The archaeological site of the real Babylon in Iraq, where tourism is for obvious reasons, excluded, promoted the rapture into the Mythical.

the end of it, says clarinetist and composer Jörg Widmann. It is time to present Babylon as what it was: A fascinating early ancient world metropolis with a unique Melange of cultures that were mostly tolerant to each other. His second Opera, "Babylon," he wrote to a Libretto by Peter Sloterdijk, who is fascinated for a Long time of the mono-theistic world religions and their origins.

Sloterdijk stirred in his Libretto, some of it together

"Babylon" was premiered in 2012 in Widmann's home city of Munich, have staged there, La Fura dels Baus. Now, for the new production at the Berlin state Opera, leads Andreas Kriegenburg directed. And he's doing what he likes to do, also in his staging of "Otello" at the Deutsche Oper: He stacks the stage opening fully (equipment Harald Thor), a giant, advent to scale such a wall of open spaces, including the shimmering blue tiles of the Ishtar gate: Babylon as a vertical city. The arrangement can drive a paternoster-like complete the direction of lace-up floor and down again. In the rather small state Opera, the transports, the perceived Close, but the chambers also allow you to have intimate scenes, and awaken images of the Hanging gardens, one of the few positive attributes of the city, and of course the tower.

A memorial minute for the late conductor Michael Gielen goes seamlessly into another silence, from the a capella Whispering of the Choir peels. A singer (Andrew Watts) with a huge, curved, razor-quoted verses from the books of Joshua and Isaiah to warn the reconstruction of a ruined city. The Scorpio man is a character from the epic of Gilgamesh.

Peter Sloterdijk things together stirred in his Libretto, embracing the Pathos with an offensive gesture. Widmann after him in the score, with powerful cluster of sound surges in the orchestra, and expanded percussion, a shimmer of electricity, Chan seasoned lusting between a high tone, Grotesque and delicate love poetry, which is only supported by a solo violin, to listen to rare instruments like the glass harmonica. The young conductor Christopher Ward, who stepped in for Daniel Barenboim, together with the Staatskapelle fiery sound out of the ditch.

What's missing is dramatic flair

Widmann, who worked for Berlin hard to score against Munich, some of it painted and newly composed, it creates atmosphere, conjuring up. But he and Sloterdijk revel so much that you have forgotten in an effort to rehabilitate Babylon, apparently, the Story.

it goes like this: The Jew Tammu is his soul unfaithful and Babylon will be forfeited of priestess of Innana. When he is sacrificed to the gods in order to avoid a re-flood, bring him back Innana to the underworld. However, this Plot structure will probably serve as a template for the music. What is missing is dramatic sense, the rapid exchange of interiority moments with scenes that propel the story forward.

the largely convincing soloists can change nothing. Mocja Erdmann, in a white dress and with blonde hair and arg-wood adhesive section marked as innocence (costumes: Tanja Hofmann), sings an ethereal soul, your opponent Susanne Elmark in a lecherous red dress and boots, a pithy Innana. She is a priestess of free love, does not preach the whole of his Judaism detained Tammu, that several lovers are not so bad: "Is not the fire in every flame?" Great Opera comes with Marina Prudenskaya on the stage, the accuse as the Euphrates angry with heaven, because he sent the flood. Strong bass: John Tomlinson as king and Priest, David Ostrek in a supporting role as a Jewish writer.

The action works in many Places

But the centre of the performance is left blank, Charles Workman as Tammu can't fill it. His qualities as a performer are this evening to be negligible, the comfort zone of his tenor, too narrow, again and again, he has to leave you, to cope with Widmann's wild interval leaps on individual syllables, which is the same for all in the hall of agony. Grateful you welcomed Otto Katzameier, a character actor, the "sister death" is completely appropriate with braised Fuses sings.

The plot is weak and does not work in many Places. The intake scene in the build to world height, as a reference to the temple of Wisdom in Mozart's "the magic flute". But that fizzled out, because Innana needs in an Aria long to make the intake ready, all the Participants are standing around unemployed. The death leaves Tammu is free, unexpected, and unmotivated.

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Christiane Peitz

At the end of Widmann composes to manufacture a peaceful, consonant sounds will make a new Covenant, without the need of the gods and the people. What is the Opera overloaded even further, fully grafted with calorie-Laden mythology. Really sick and tired of you not leaving the Opera house anyway.

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