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Berg: Wozzeck [DVD+BLU-RAY]
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Der Komponist und Soldat Alban Berg nutzte im Jahr 1917 einen langen Fronturlaub, um endlich ein Projekt in Angriff zu nehmen, das ihn seit drei Jahren beschäftigte. Im Mai 1914 hatte er ein Theaterstück von Georg Büchner gesehen, in dem ein einfacher Soldat von allen Seiten schikaniert wird und am Ende zu brutaler Gewalt greift. Berg entdeckte darin sofort ein Sujet für eine Oper: »Wozzeck«. Dass er in der Zwischenzeit selbst Erfahrungen als Soldat gemacht hat, dürfte Berg das Thema noch näher gebracht haben. Der eigentliche, unmittelbare Anstoß kam jedoch aus dem Stück selbst. Büchners schnelle Wortwechsel reduzieren alle Gefühle aufs Wesentliche, auf die grundlegenden Triebfedern Frustration, Verzweiflung, Hoffnungslosigkeit und Liebe. Und durch die Abfolge kurzer Szenen wirkt das Stück wie ein fertiges Libretto. Doch was Berg wohl am meisten ansprach, war die Schilderung einer Gesellschaft der Verlorenen. Die Salzburger Festspiele setzten 100 Jahre nach Alban Bergs ersten Arbeiten an der Oper den »Wozzeck« auf den Spielplan. Der Grafiker und Videokünstler William Kentridge schuf eine emotional packende Inszenierung, der Bariton Matthias Goerne lieferte mit seinem betörenden Timbre eine zutiefst humanistische Deutung der Hauptrolle und der Dirigent Vladimir Jurowski am Pult der Wiener Philharmoniker arbeitete die atemberaubende Modernität der Partitur virtuos heraus. Produktion: Salzburger Festspiele 2017
Alban Berg, der Wagner-Jünger, der sich brennend für bildende Kunst interessierte, sah die Oper als Gesamtkunstwerk. Dieser musikalisch und visuell unter die Haut gehende Abend wird Bergs epochaler Oper aufeigenwillige und bezwingende Weise gerecht. --BR Klassik
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Die Einspielung Salzburg 2017 enthält eine DVD und eine Bluray.
William Kentridge, ein Multmedia-Künstler inszenierte und schuf die Bühnenszenerie. Diese beinhaltet die optische Umsetzung einer chaotischen Zeit um bzw. nach dem 1.Weltkrieg. Alban Berg sah Opern als Gesamtkunstwerke analog der Theorie Richard Wagners. Der wiederum stellte ab auf die Kunst der alt-griechischen Polis-Kultur, die Aufführungen als apollinisch-dionysische Wiederspiegelungen der Handlungsmuster plus - minus- Trieb-Ratio- der Spezies Mensch begriff.
Die Handlung spiegelt das Ausgeliefertsein der menschlichen Kreatur an gesellschaftliche Gegebenheiten, arm-reich, Status oder unterpriviligiert. Wozzeck und Marie gefangen als Individualverstrickungen in diesen Strukturen. Das Kind als Spielball, das bewußt von Kentridge mit einer Handpuppe dargestellt wird. Ein echtes Kind zöge zu viel Aufmerksamheit von der Handlung ab, so seine Begründung.
Mathias Görne singt einen einfühlsamen, weich timbrierten Wozzeck, sehr überzeugend.
Hervorragend auch Asmik Grigorian als mädchenhafte Marie,
Jens Larsen als Doctor, kenne ich auch live, klasse,
Gerhard Siegel als Captain,
John Daszak als Major,
Vladimir Jurowski dirigiert involvierend.
Insgesamt beeindruckendes Musiktheater. Die Multimedia Optik hat auch Kritik hervorgerufen, wie fast jede Inszenierung, ist aber mehrheitlich als Ereignis gefeiert worden. Wer also eine bildoptisch, üppig assoziierende Umsetzung eines Künstlers interessant findet, hier wird er fündig.
Jeweils ein Stern für brillante Hauptdarsteller (Denoke, Hawlata, Orchester/Weigle) und für die gute Aufnahmequalität. Beide hätten man für eine andere Inszenierung besser investieren können. Selbst Mussbachs neo-expressionistische Version ergibt mehr Sinn als dieses öde Sammelsurium altbekannter Pseudo-Schockeffekte.
(Tip an die Produzenten: Das nächste Mal nicht so sehr schauen, welcher Name gerade im Feuilleton gepusht wird, sondern vor der Produktion die Qualität prüfen.)
Die letzte Frage "Wozu" stellt sich sich der Zuschauer. Wozu er sich das Ganze angetan hat. (Wie auch im Theater zu sehen ist, wo im Schlußapplaus bereits nach dem ersten Vorhang der Zuschauerraum so gut wie leer ist) Weder die (modern interessierten) Kulinariker noch die Schocksucher werden hier auf ihre Kosten kommen. Die Sinnsucher erst recht nicht.
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It's the day after, and I'm still reeling from watching Bad Boy Bieito's production of Wozzeck from the Liceu. This release, will - to be sure - anger as many as it will entice, but rarely - if ever - have I seen an opera updated to better effect with the resulting music drama as perfect as a stage work can get.
This production - as typical with this director - has divided audiences probably more than any other work he's done. While many of the ideas I've heard for his productions of Seraglio, Butterfly, etc., have repulsed me and seem like cheap effects for shock value, watching this Wozzeck was like watching something new. Somehow - and with a minimum of conceited directorial shoehorning, Berg's masterpiece fits this new scenario as though there were no other way to perform it. The score's otherworldliness matches the visual components given here in a futuristic, almost sci-fi manner that feels perfectly natural. It's astonishing, really.
Bieito's cast is uniformly strong - top-to-bottom. Franz Hawalta's title character not only embodies the awkwardness of Berg's anti-hero, he embraces it, convincing one he may be the only sane and still human person in this tale. Where Alan Held last year destroyed me by his pitiable Wozzeck who felt like an outsider in an unusually cruel world, Hawalta's Wozzeck is an outsider - someone hanging on to the last vestiges of his humanity in a post-apocalyptic world where there is no hope.
The stage design is simply mindboggling (well, not so much "simply"). The endless labyrinth of pipes and pipe heads, is here, "the belly of the beast." There is steam, liquids, gunk and filth pouring, breathing, filling the stage, yet somehow, there is also beauty.
The Wozzecks seem to live in an enormous corrugated metal container, or box car which descends from the flies, it's harsh, inhuman florescent lights washing out nearly all color and hope. When we witness first the home's descending, it features Wozzeck watering a small green garden and the imagery, the symbolic nurturing of his garden in this hopeless place was so beautiful and meaningful so as to nearly stop my heart. It is an image I will never forget.
Nearly everyone in the cast is in identical orange, work jumpsuits, everyone covered in grime, women with hair clipped short, Wozzeck and Marie's child, a sickly, bald, bruised waif, forced to wear an oxygen mask at all times, the tanks strapped to his weak, failing back. It is a heartbreaking vision, and the child is onstage for much of the opera, his symbolism cannot be missed, yet never once feels forced or false. The Doctor, Drum Major, Captain and Fool are the only ones given different costumes, for obvious and well thought out theatrical reasons.
Ms. Denoke does not go for the sympathy vote with her unique take on Marie. This Marie is a feisty, slightly opportunistic factory worker: a little cold, a little less thoughtful and refined in her thinking and thus a little less pitiable. The bible-reading scene then becomes the embodiment of Marie's great catharsis; a dramatic realization which becomes, here, an epiphany of the horror of her plight - everything, becoming somehow, for the first time, real. Wozzeck, having been brutally beaten, and humiliated by the other men, lies before the house at the beginning of the scene, with Marie wondering where he's been for two days. It completely changes this intent of this scene from every other production I know. When she jumps from the house, she's clutching the oversized bible, and begins tearing it violently to shreds, before seeing Wozzeck's bloody, broken body which has been there the entire time.
While there is nudity, Bieito's use of it here is restrained. For most of the opera, the only nudity is that of corpses which the Doctor dissects, and seems far too interested in both carnally and clinically. One of the most arresting and disturbingly beautiful images occurs during the final interlude as nearly the entire company appear - all nude, and slowly - walking in barely discernable steps, toward the stage apron, as what appear to be disinfectant perhaps showers of purification rain down upon them. The effect and its meaning completely overwhelmed me and thinking of it now . . . well, I'm writing this shaking my head in near disbelief. It is not at all a provocative or sensual image, but the beauty of it - the perfect matching to the music's mood seems haunted by genius.
Everything about this Wozzeck is new, alarming and ultimately powerful. Wozzeck's early interactions with Andres have a naturalness about them convinces these once were good friends. It was a joy to see David Kuebler, a singer I've always liked, giving such a strong presence to an almost thankless role.
Reiner Goldberg - a singer I've always been divided on (and who has got to be getting on in years) is marvelous as the Drum Major in his Elvisy-glitz and gold hair.
Vivian Tierney as Margret, Johann Tilli as the Doctor, and the diminutive Hubert Delamboye as the Captain all offer well thought out and vivid portrayals of these roles.
No Wozzeck, of course, cannot work without the score being as well played and sung as possible and the German maestro, Sebastian Weigle, seems to have spent his life with this score. The delicacy of certain sections are as beautiful and illuminating as any performance or recording I've ever heard. He emphasizes as well as the best, the dance rhythms of Berg's amazingly diverse score. As delicate and chamberlike as some of the score is, the moments of bombast are, here, as devastating as they can ever be. Combined with the images of Bieito's dazzling and harrowing production, the effect is as total - and new - as a Wozzeck can be. The playing and singing from the Liceu forces really is about as good as it gets.
The sound engineering of this product is astonishing, at the right volume level, everything is caught as cleanly and as clearly as one would experience in a great opera house (though, necessarily and, of course, without that live spatiality).
There is an interesting 18 minute documentary offering insights into Wozzeck, including Bieito's take on the story, and Maestro Weigle's pocketbook analysis of the score.
This DVD jumps to the top of my favorites pile and I look forward to being destroyed on many repeated viewings.
Wozzeck is a common solider, shaving his Captain. The Captain chastises him for having fathered an illegitimate child with one Marie. Wozzeck defends his lack of virtue, explaining that he is too destitute to have the blessings of the Church, but Wozzeck reminds his superior of Christ's words "suffer not the little children." The Captain heaps even more abuse and scorn on Wozzeck, and the soldier becomes indignant.
Wozzeck and his friend Andres are cutting sticks in a field as the sun sets. Wozzeck tells Andres of horrifying visions and Andres unsuccessfully tries to offer Wozzeck reassurance. Wozzeck visits The Doctor. The Doctor scolds him for abandoning his diet. The Doctor, who is obviously insane, is delighted, however, when Wozzeck tells him of the violent visions he has been having. Meanwhile, Marie notices the regiment's Drum Major, and the two begin an affair. The Drum Major gives Marie earrings as he parts. Feeling remorse for her infidelity, Marie sings her child a lullaby.
Wozzeck returns him and tells Marie of his hallucinations. Marie is disturbed and the tension between the two of them escalates when Wozzeck notices Marie's new earrings and begins to question her about them. Wozzeck's jealousy engulfs him, and he becomes wild with visions of blood.
The Captain and the Doctor are are engaged in conversation on the street. The Doctor is giving the Captain a terminal diagnosis when they encounter Wozzeck. The Doctor and the Captain mock Wozzeck, telling him of the affair between Marie and the Drum Major. Wozzeck flees to a tavern where he discovers Marie and the Drum Major dancing. The tavern idiot confronts Wozzeck, telling him `I smell blood," which, naturally, sends Wozzeck into a frenzy. In the barracks, Wozzeck gets into a fight with the Drum Major, who knocks Wozzeck down.
Later, Marie reads of the gospel account of the woman taken in adultery. Overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, Marie joins Wozzeck for a walk in the forest. A blood red moon rises as they are walking, and Wozzeck slashes Marie's throat. Wozzeck throws the knife away, and heads back to the tavern to escape his blood dreams.
In the tavern, patrons notice Wozzeck's bloodied hands and question him. In a panic, Wozzeck returns to the forest to search for the knife. When he finds it he throws it into a pond, then discovers Marie's body. Wozzeck's mental state deteriorates. He becomes convinced that he did not throw the knife far enough, and fears that it will turn up on the shore. Desperate to retrieve the waspon and wash off the incriminating blood, Wozzeck runs towards the pond. The Captain and the Doctor pass by and hear Wozzeck's anguished cries, but they are unconcerned. Wozzeck jumps into the pond, but unable to swim, he drowns.
The next morning Wozzeck and Marie's child plays on a hobby horse. The neighborhood children mock him for his parentage when news arrives that Marie's body has been found. The children rush off to see the dead body, and Marie's child eventually joins them.
"La Boheme" this isn't.
Purists, who really should stay the hell away from anything written by the Second Viennese School, saw Bieito's staging and immediately put the production's necrophilia, Elton John impersonator, and excessive nudity on their epic lists of complaints. Bieito was characterized as the quintessential Regie nightmare. The purist hacks looked at their libretto/bible from a two inch distance and cried foul, failing to see past their paint-by-numbers preferences. Bieito was predictably (and oh so boringly) accused of pulling juvenile antics. To approach Berg's nihilistic work as if it were a holy, chiseled museum piece is nothing short of hypocrisy.
Bieito gets to the visceral spirit of Berg's "Wozzeck" more than anyone before him and, I suspect, this production will be the reference version for many years to come. Bieito sets his Wozzeck in a chemical plant, a post-industrial, apocalyptic wasteland. Marie and Wozzeck abide in the plant's lower level, wear tattered overalls, and are stained with grime. Pipes exude deadening pollution, and Marie's home is an industrial container. Her child frequently resorts to the fetal position to shield himself from his dreary existence. He is covered in sores, wears a death-red jumpsuit and breathes through an oxygen mask. Marie cleans herself off and slinks into a evening dress, ascending to the upper level for her affair with the upper class, the superficially exotic Drum Major (the Elton impersonator). Marie, Wozzeck, and their child are anonymous to an apathetic world. The Jeffrey Dahmer-like Doctor finds an appealing cadaver among the pile and simulates sexual push-ups with the corpse. The sight sends the already fragile Wozzeck over the edge. The harrowing finale has Wozzeck climbing into a drainage pipe as the nude, zombie-like chorus encircles Marie's corpse. The children throw industrial waste at Marie's orphan.
Bavarian Franz Hawlata may possibly be the best Wozzeck on record. Vocally, and in performance, his is a corpulent, rabid antihero. Likewise, Angela Denoke's Marie convincingly projects desperation and pathos. Johann Tilli and Hubert Delamboye capture the banality of evil all too convincingly. Amazingly, conductor Sebastian Weigle cuts through the staged refuse and delivers music of power and, yes, beauty.
The anticipated backlash spewed by hopelessly dull, bourgeoisie critics came fast and furious. Would I want to watch this again anytime soon? It nearly took me a year to revisit this film, and it will probably be another year before I brave it a third time. Like all great art, this was not easy. And this is great art which I recommend unreservedly to everyone but the operatic televangelists.
*my review originally appeared at 366 weird movies.