Wozzeck (Staatsoper)

Students of musical history will recall that the Deutsche Staatsoper gave the premiere of Alban Berg’s expressionist masterpiece in 1925. Andrea Breth’s 2011 production is an elegant and menacing vision that ranks with the company’s best productions. The sparse set (by Martin Zehetgruber) is a pavilion seen in various configurations and segments to resemble prison cells, the frames of a comic strip, a rotating carnival or a madhouse. The few props are well chosen, and effective in their starkness: dead rabbits being skinned by Andres, a radioactively green pea soup that the doctor spilled over Wozzeck’s head. There are moments of crude sexuality and wantonness, with more implied than actually shown. Olaf Freese’s sickly lighting enhances the grim goings-on. All in all, this sleek production was a perfect fit for a work that’s lost none of its power or daring. Claustrophobic, Kafkaesque and brutal, it is so suited to the music that the stagecraft almost became invisible. It was as if Breth had discovered the perfect tuning fork to resonate with every note of Berg’s opera.



 84 | 72 | 57 | 44 | 28 EUR

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