A nugget by Franz Schreker – WebThéâtre :: News about shows, theater, opera, music, dance

UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF DIRECTOR Alain Perroux, opera nationale du Rhin, continues his fascinating exploration of rare lyric works: then Die Vogel Last season, another opera by Braunfels (Les Oiseaux) from the German repertoire, which was a huge success along the Rhine in its time, was performed in France for the first time: Schatzgraeber The work of Franz Schreker (The Treasure Hunter), created in 1920 in Frankfurt. Surprisingly, ten years ago in Strasbourg, in the same hall, another famous opera by this composer had its French premiere: Last Klang (Voice of the distant). The libretto of this “bitter tale” with words by Alain Perroux Treasure hunteris also based on Distant voice, on the idea of ​​the power of music. It is as if the paths taken by German Romanticism in the Germanic world at the beginning of the 20th century culminated in this rather brutal tale celebrating the power of love and music. through an image of a lover straight out of a medieval fairy tale as he goes through the episodes of the career of a beautiful thief whose outward cynicism is despair and the pursuit of happiness. This rather complex story, with many twists and turns, imagined and penned by the composer himself, required a rich score capable of accommodating not only the world of the fairy tale, with its special musical ingredients, but also the world of conversation theater. as many scenes bring together a group of characters caught up in conflicts that require lengthy exchanges. Not to mention the magnificent scenes of solitude and masterful lyrical architecture for the great love encounter and erotic climax scene at the end of the third act.

viewing angles

The Strasbourg production is presented with all the brilliance of a brilliant vocal and orchestral cast, but like the opera itself, it is presented with a structure that oscillates between several perspectives to tell the truth: pure stories with ordinary characters. queen, bard, jester, etc.), its clear edges and breaks in tone, its symbolic stakes and apparent plot. Depth psychology, where greed and cynicism in Elsin’s character turn into impulses that take the place of only noble desires. It is, after all, pure tragedy (Eros and Thanatos mingled magnificently in the matter of music). But in a way, if the composer has chosen a work with multiple stakes and references through the intersecting avenues of his libretto and the contrasts of his score, what is the staging of this somewhat unclassifiable lyrical object? Treasure hunter faces the main aesthetic difficulty, which is primarily visual: which world to represent on stage, which era to anchor, from which point of view – ironic and distant or naive and sentimental?

A break

The first scene of the opera is in a pause from the beginning, deliberately asked for and emphasized, it seems to me, by Christoph Loy: between the description of the modern social scene (with its polite boredom, the convention of laughter, the neat domestic conditions ) and a rather disturbing dream, with the agility of a contortionist. the woman (the Queen, exhausted since her jewels were stolen, a silent role perfectly interpreted by dancer Doke Pauwels) bends her body to the ground. this elegant living room seems to express the futility of all this celebration. At the center of this half-real, half-dream-like scene, the image of a jester, adorned in a dark maroon monochromatic headpiece, points out, thereby gesturally, rather violently, dismissing the medieval reference. I was caught throughout the performance between the fascination of the unusually moving, moving, original, tight score and the boredom of listening to a story that would be too far-fetched and too far-fetched for a modern opera. too complex for a tale worthy of the name.

Thus, the score’s lyrical power, its inventive instrumental fusions, its almost constant tension, the superior heritage of German romanticism, were modeled on vocal lines like those of Wagner’s or even Richard’s operas. Strauss: All of this, oddly enough, falls relatively flat when the scene is mixed. It was as if the work was so rich from a purely auditory perspective that no scene could exhaust its evocative power. a fortiori Working on components one by one, at the risk of sounding prosaic, in music… is just pure musicality.

Ancient or modern?

To avoid the trap, perhaps, it was necessary to choose one of the areas opened by the composer and stick to it: for example, as in the old fairy tale, and while standing within this framework, reject specific parameters. . Or, conversely, use today’s views to make the fairy tale the main source of a dream, as modern reality has lost its keys. Because if the music can withstand the great gulf between the faint sounds of the minstrel’s lute and the unbridled post-romanticism of the great lyrical scenes, the audience’s eye and imagination do not have the same flexibility… Why the bonnet? Who is represented here at the end of the joker in the modern world? for example, in a very modern celebration of moral freedom that contrasts with fairy tale archetypes, in the grand erotic scene, the royally manifested homosexuality by all kinds of couples accompanying the main heterosexual couple, precisely…

Photo: Clara Beck

Franz Schrecker: Schatzgraeber. Thomas Blondelle (Alice), Helena Juntunen (Els), Paul Schweinester (The Bouffon), Derek Welton (The King), Doke Pauwels (The Queen), Thomas Johannes Mayer (The Bailli). Director: Christof Loy, sets: Johannes Leiacker, lights: Olaf Winter. Choir National Opera du Rhin, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, director. Marco Letonja. Opera National du Rhin, October 28, 2022. Next performances: November 8 at the Opera National du Rhin. On November 27th and 29th at the Filatura de Mulhouse.

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