There are at least three reasons to watch this exciting opera (tomorrow, March 1, last) by composer Franz Schrecker. Because it belongs to this category of works by the Nazis as a category of "intellectual music" banned by perverted music. Because of his intrigue, the political parable (centered on the Flemish Rebellion of the Duchy of Alba) is borrowed from Smetse Sme, a work by Charles De Coster, 10 years earlier than the legend of Wallenspigel, and because its director, Ersan Montgomery which is of Turkish German origin, it makes a colorful and rhythmic fantasy with a significant lip, look … Leopold II.
Der Schmied von Gent, Franz Schrecker's last opera, the victim of a Nazi cabal two months before Hitler came to power in 1933, and Schrecker, director of the Berlin Academy of Music (with colleagues Richard Strauss and Hindemitt), resigned and died a year later. All "contemporary" music was considered "perverted", deviating from German tradition, such as jazz (black music) and music written by Jews and Communists.
Or Shrek, a Jew by his father, compositions (booklet and music) "Ghent Smith" around Sme, a "beggar" who resisted Spanish pressure on the Duchy of Alba, was mainly a cartoonist. Durable. A good man, but he became a "collabo" and condemned another rival blacksmith, he was in misery. There is a complicated process with a "diabolic" woman with a black goddess Astarte, with whom she signs a seven-year "pact". A woman and a black devil who promises her prosperity, not the philosopher's stone or the young Gret, like Faust. The struggle between good and evil, paradise and hell will also see the Virgin Mary and the little Jesus – Joseph the Joseph, St. Peter, but also the duo of Alba, who wears skirts here, we are in cartoons, and his acolytes.
In part two, Ersan Montag's staging turns Smey into … Leopold II's symbol of colonial capitalism in the 19th century. We have been happily jumping for more than two centuries to spread the myth of Sme's personal greed to a fabulous, usually murdered exploiter of a Belgian figure. The effect here is quite distant and replaces tragedy and humor. Tragic, predicted by a famous speech by Patrice Lumumba, in June 1960, clashing with King Buduin. In the foreground is a basket of hands (Lumbumba killed in Katanga) and the background of the Antwerp station, paid for by colonial resources. Disappointing, as Leopold II holds a hut … with waffles and narrow escapes … after being hell-bent on hell … hell … Astarte, the devil embodied by South African black singer Woo Wu.
So the tone is an inexplicable parable of the stunning saraband of colorful visual effects that almost immerse us in the world of action dolls or comics. Josa Marx's delicious dresses make the representation a beautiful living picture. The Ersan Mondtag we saw at NT Gent, and then KFDA 2019's intense and surprising "De Living" (suicide theme) – uses a classic arcade, populated by all imaginations and symbols. From the smithy's smithy to the hellish landscapes, from hell to paradise, the Duke of Alba from a skirt to Leopold II as a waffle salesman, from the Amazing Devil's Choir to the coming of the Virgin Mary family. gives probability to all these incredible situations scattered in time and space. We are caught in a whirlwind of vibrant colors combined with an amazing sense of visual rhythm. This is the first reason for the success of this recreation. Of course, Ersan Mondtag's first opera production won't be the last.
The second cause of interest is the unknown face of a forgotten and interesting composer. During his days Schrecker competed with Richard Strauss and Hindemitt. Die Ferne Klang: (Le Son lointain, 1912) or: Die Gezeichneten: "(The stigmatized, 1918) by Freud's sexual ambiguities disseminates Venusberg's eroticism from Persian Wennenberg as a bonus. A kind of post-romanticism between symbolism and expressionism, which made this Viennese from Berlin a "Gustav Klimt of sounds". From this time on, the character of Astarté, the black devil who negotiates his covenant with Sme, retains beautiful vocal sensibilities. But wanting to appeal to a more popular audience, Schrecker also visualizes this Brugellian parable of baby melodies and satirical cabaret songs. Kurt Will.
The performers face the challenge of this composing work – a political tale that is considered a modern farce. No weaknesses in this distribution, which may account in particular for the sensual color domain of Vuvu Mpofu (Astarté), local sound stability, and comic metaphors of Leigh Melrose (Smee) and his wife, Mezzo's Kaai Rüüte. Finally, a very good performance by the choir Opéra des Flandres (played by Astarté's multiple and colorful accompanist) and his orchestra, led by its new conductor Alejo Perez, who marries the sinuses of the opposite score.
Let's say hello to the efforts of new director Ian Vandenhui, who introduced English covers and an English-language program for international and French-speaking audiences who will not speak the Wondel language.
Der Schmied von Gent: (Franz Schrecker) in the Ghent opera until March 1. https://operaballet.be/nl:
Christian Jade (RTBF.be)
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