Warlikowski Opens the Munich Season with Strauss
small, Warlikowski Opens the Munich Season with Strauss, Krzysztof Warlikowski. Photo: Agencja Forum, warlikowski krzysztof portret forum_6859610.jpg
The renowned director stages Strauss in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the Munich Opera after World War 2 with one of Strauss' most challenging and moving works
the woman without a shadow
Krzysztof Warlikowski's singular vision for The Woman without a Shadow (Die Frau ohne Schatten) takes the stage at the Bayerische Staatsoper, with animations by Kamil Polak, music by Kirill Peterenko, choreography by Claude Bardouil and set design by Małgorzata Szczęśniak. It has been produced on cooperation with the Teatro Real in Madrid. The opera in three acts (with a libretto by poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal) was composed around 1915. It features a great deal of symbolism and complex staging to tell the story of a half-human empress struggling to gain a shadow as proof of her humanity, foiled by the story of the Dyer and his wife.
At the time of its debut its reception was discouraging, yet today Strauss is enjoying a true revival as a number of opera houses around the world take up both The Woman... and Elektra this year and next, including the Leipzig Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The theme of love between people of divergent backgrounds ("human" and "non-human") and their struggle to have children is one that contemporary audiences may understand better than a century ago. As Franz Welser-Möst, the music director of the Vienna State Opera, stated in an interview with The New York Times, "To keep ‘Die Frau’ coherent is really difficult because it has so many elements". Critics have remarked on the complexity of the score, which also lends itself to the beauty of the musical language of the opera.
For Warlikowski, The Woman without a Shadow is
a portrait of collective memory done up in the form of an artificial fairy tale full of strange symbols. The empress' fate, as she pursues a shadow, I see rather as a sort of purification, a kind of New Age therapy. This opera holds up the question of what is means to be human, touching all of us today in a remarkable way.
The animated accompaniment prepared by director and set designer Kamil Polak adds another dimension of visuals and symbolism to the production. His previous cooperation with Warlikowski includes Dybuk, African Tales by Shakespeare and Warsaw Cabaret. The musical direction by Kirill Peterenko promises to impress, with Peterenko declaring his great enthusiasm for the production:
The possibility of conducting Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten hit me like a bolt from the blue. This is an absolute godsend for me! Performing this opera in this venue and continuing such an impressive tradition is absolutely awe-inspiring.
The Woman without a Shadow marks the Warlikowski's second directorial project at the Munich Opera following 2007's controversial Eugene Oniegin, which continues to figure on the opera's programme. This year two Poles are among the title characters: Artur Ruciński (Oniegin) and Rafał Siwek (Gremin).
Warlikowski's The Woman without a Shadow, with Johan Botha, Adrianne Pieczonka, Deborah Polaski, Wolfgang Koch, Elena Pankratova a.o., premieres at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich on the 21st of November 2013, opening the 2013/2014 opera season. Additonal performances run through the 7th of December. The performance on the 1st of December will be broadcast live on the Bayerische Staatsoper website via Staatsoper TV.
For more info, see: www.bayerische.staatsoper.de
Source: e-teatr.pl, Rzeczpospolita, nytimes.com. Based on the original article on culture.pl. Editor: AMG