Magazine article Opera Canada

Munich Opera Festival

Magazine article Opera Canada

Munich Opera Festival

Article excerpt

Within the impressive list of 16 operas staged at this summer's Munich Opera Festival, no fewer than four bore the controversial directorial stamp of America's David Alden, including his four-year-old production of Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades.

In typical Alden fashion, the opera was ripped from its historical context, moving from the aristocratic milieu of Czarist Russia to the late Communist era, with giant red stars looming over the stage (courtesy of designer Paul Steinberg) and the audience left to wonder why a countess (veteran British soprano Josephine Barstow) would be fussed over by so many putative servants of the proletariat.

What rescued the production, as it did in a number of other festival offerings, was the high musical standard the Bavarian State Opera has come to represent, embodied on this occasion in the playing of the orchestra under Jun Markl, the singing of the chorus and the choice of a cast for the most part comfortable in the Russian language. …

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