Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lohengrinning and Bayreuthing it

All right, I agree that's too much for a punning title. But this year's Bayreuth production of Lohengrin has to bring a smile to someone's face. I truly do not yet understand this Lego mentality of dramaturgy, where perfectly beautiful performances are staged using tropes that seem to come from the nursery. Take a look at scenes from this year's production, (if it doesn't start automatically, go to Start Video and select "Stage Manager") --which feature black and white rats as the townspeople. Anthony Tommasini said that it was 'strange but moving.' I guess we have to believe him -- but I wonder if I am simply becoming much too much of a fuddy-duddy to appreciate this monkeying with the staging. Believe me, if someone did this to a work of mine, I'd have something to say about it. All right, so their little rat-feet are cute. But in Lohengrin??

I guess I keep thinking of Lauritz Melchior wearing little spongy feet.
How sad to think that all the thought and history that went into the creation of these works should be ground down to the great Lego-leveler of the Regies. Is this the swansong of Lohengrin? What if they were performing The Ratcatcher of Hamlin or Schwanda Der Dudelsackpfeifer, or even Hans, il Suonatore del Flauto in a nearby competing Festspielhaus? Then you got something.

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