Magazine article Musical Opinion

Hänsel Und Gretel

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Hänsel Und Gretel

Article excerpt

Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden

Finally, after many years of renovation and urgent repairs, the Staatsoper was able to reopen its doors to its faithful and expectant public. The period of exile in Charlottenburg seemed like a distant past. But what was to be found inside? On December 29th at first sight there was no change, the colours were the same, albeit freshly painted and the smell was still present, the seats are now more comfortable having been freshly upholstered. There is a new floor in the orchestra stalls area, and is the acoustic still the same? Or is it a little distant? Not as immediately present as before? The years of forced exile can play tricks, so let's hear more operas and also under Barenboim who is a master of sound extraction before judging. The Staatsoper made a clever decision scheduling this work for Christmas and New Year, and the abundance of children with dutiful parents was witness to the constant popularity of this work. Maybe because in the UK we treat this work with much less reverence than in Germany, I was expecting something more challenging. After all, if in England we have seen the Mother as The Witch what is left to fear? Achim Freyer is a well known designer who doubles up as producer and his new production takes the direct route of the fairy tale. It is charming but it is also limiting. To see the children with their big funny heads gives a comforting feeling, but I should much rather see the faces of the singers. …

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