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"die tote Stadt" at Theater Hagen, May 2007

Opera and concert perfomances

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"die tote Stadt" at Theater Hagen, May 2007

Postby peter hodgson » Mon May 14, 2007 10:21 pm

I went to seee die tote Stadt in Hagen in the Ruhr last week. It was seriously, seriously bad. The singing was adequate and the Marie was actually very good indeed. Sadly the production was truly desperate. Paul was portrayed as a total lunatic, Psycho style, clawing at the air like Renfield trying to catch flies in Dracula; he apparently had murdered his wife, murdered his friend Paul, murdered Marietta and ended up being carted off by the men in white coats (well, actually his housekeeper dressed as a fat psychiatrist and Frank dressed as a Belgian policeman). Oh yes, and he peed in empty milk bottles just for good measure. The orchestral playing wasn't much good either. It strikes me as weird that producers in Germany have to "re-invent" such a little known opera no doubt in order to confuse the audience. This was the 10th version I've seen of die tote Stadt and probably the worst - although a production in Bremen with multiple zombies playing Marie/Marietta ran it a close second.

I'm no conservative and I welcome unusual and innovative productions of everything, but let's stay within the bounds of sanity, per-lease.
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Postby Peter Timoney » Mon May 14, 2007 11:19 pm

I saw die Tote Stadt only once in Cologne and I thought it was fairly okay compared to the type of production you have described, and also the french DVD production. They played it like a Hollywood movie, like Vertigo in fact, which I suppose makes some vague sense in relation to the opera. Sadly I have no other versions to compare it to, although my experiences of Wagner in German theatres always fill me with dread. A degree of production free for all. The thing which disturbed me most in my Korngold experience was the curtailing of half of the wonderful 2nd act introduction in order to squeeze acts 1 and 2 together. I feel this deprives us of one of the finest tone poems Korngold ever wrote. Can anyone tell me if they cut other productions down to 2 acts by slicing this prelude and if so who started or sanctioned this trend. I mean, die Tote Stadt is hardly a long opera to justify cuts!

Peter
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Korngold in Koeln

Postby peter hodgson » Tue May 15, 2007 3:53 pm

Yes I saw the Koeln production too (in 2000); this was another Hitchcock-style one if I recall with Sidwell Hartman and Vivienne Tierney. Straightforward compared to the Hagen version! Best version I have seen is the one at Theater Altenburg-Gera - if they ever revive it, go! The Strasbourg DVD version is a little odd but quite rational at least!

P.H.
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2 or 3 acts for die tote Stadt?

Postby peter hodgson » Tue May 15, 2007 3:55 pm

And most productions I have seen serve up the opera in effectively 2 parts: Act 1+2/Interval/Final act. Even so, it's nearly 3 hours in the theatre.
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