Operetta at the Salzburg Festival? Yes we can Or better: yes, we cancan. For with Jacques Offenbach's "Orpheus in Hell", Barrie Kosky took a few minutes to debut at the festival on Wednesday, thrilling to the House for Mozart and having managed to perform on the theme of the operetta. A hell of a party with a very smart architecture.
Until now, the opera audience has not had anything to laugh at this festival summer. With the general theme of antiquity, we have embarked on a series of cruel and bloody stories and could boast of sharing the gravity of pain and fate. Jacques Offenbach may have wondered why, in 1858, he took to heart the theme of Orpheus and Eurydice and transformed it as he pleases into a sumptuous and bitter comedy about the scams and entertainment of the better society.
Her tunes – slogan: cancan – are seduced by the good mood, her protagonist of Eurydice, confident, who does not want to stay with her violent and frayed husband and prefers to be kidnapped by the god of the underworld – to leave him then. – may be considered one of the first authentic texts of musical theatrical literature, and his Olympus is a degenerate biotope for the daily neuroses of the boredom of prosperity. And they are always up to date.
For Barrie Kosky, specialist of "comic opera" – he successfully runs the eponymous house in Berlin – it is an excellent example. Yes, there are a lot of sequins and sequins, a lot of hot males and little dressed dancers, there are golden curtains and devils of cycling, there is a real cancan with only nipples dressed in latex – this is 39, is a matter of honor. The high value of entertainment owes its share to the piece, but to a first-class know-how of another nature: Kosky understands the leadership in so much detail that it would probably take several passes to capture all the hitting lines smaller and larger. He solved the problem of spoken dialogues – often an embarrassment for opera singers of non-German mother tongues – with something that immediately adds a new dimension to the work: Kosky lets her live under the orders of Only one actor – celebrated with frenzy: Max Hopp – in sync. And the Vienna Philharmonic directed by Enrique Mazzola plays wonderfully Offenbach: succulent, precise, of good taste.
A pearl is Kathryn Lewek as Eurydice, scenic a force of nature, vocally a finesse; No boredom for the public, too, among the bored Olympians: Martin Winkler as Jupiter, Lea Desandre as Venus, Vasilisa Berzhanskaya as Diana and Frances Pappas as Juno make a pleasant comedy always with the eyebrows and always singing very good to excellent. No, Weltschmerz has not spoiled this festival. It will come back tomorrow, at Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra". But it was smart and good – and very funny.
(SERVICE – "Orphee au enfers" by Jacques Offenbach, conductor: Enrique Mazzola, director: Barrie Kosky, with Anne Sofie von Otter, Max Hopp, Kathryn Lewek, Joel Prieto and others, Vocalconsort Berlin, Vienna Philharmonic. 23, 26 and 30 August, live on August 17 at 20:15, 2nd ORF (www.salzburgerfestspiele.at)