To kick off the 2014-15 season, Latvian director Alvis Hermanis delivered a lukewarm staging of “Tosca” with few good ideas to supplant Carl Riha’s 38-year-old traditional warhorse.

Going along with a confusing and clueless staging of “Vissi d’arte” where Tosca unbuttoned Scarpia’s shirt, there was little indication that Hermanis had actually read the libretto. Then again, there would have been little need for him to do so, since the main element in this production were still projections of illustrations that unfolded like a historically accurate graphic novel. The slides ran the entire duration of the performance and, with one or two exceptions, didn’t add anything to the production, aside from some tacky visuals of close-up comic book renderings of the protagonists engaged in a frozen series of intense emotional states. Hermanis, a talented and intelligent director who recently won praise for his Munich production of Die Soldaten and Così fan tutte at the Komische Oper here provided a mystifyingly low-concept staging that might be considered innocuous if it weren’t so banal.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES: 3. 5. 9. 12. Mai 2019

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