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Friday, 17 August 2012

TRAVEL: The Alps

Glorious -The Alps in summer when the sun shines:
 Gstaad in Oberland, Canton de Berne, Switzerland
A club on top of a mountain
Lucerne Festival: Canton de Lucerne. The Concert Hall designed by Jean Nouvel - a wonderful space, the auditorium has excellent acoustics....Mahler cancelled and replaced by Incidental music to Goethe's - "Egmont" op. 84, Beethoven, and Mozart's Requiem in D minor K.626 -- the orchestra mediocre and the masterly Claudio Abbado (whom I worshipped in Salzburg) not on form.

Nordic kitsch
A dancing gentleman  
Left: Productions from 1999-2010 Bregenzer Festival on Lake Constance, Austria: this festival deserves to be even better known... 
Only in the open air, by a lake, could such a production succeed.

Umberto Giordano’s opera about the poet André Chénier, is set against the background of the French Revolution. A most astonishing and unforgettable production.  A gigantic figure of Marat rises out of Lake Lucerne....victims of the Revolution, played by acrobats, are thrown into the water…extraordinary choreography by Lynne Page, directed by Keith Warner of Wagner fame...the costumes by Constance Hoffman are lush, ironic, and appropriate. The set by David Fielding is a miracle of engineering and ingenuity, the lighting by Davy Cunningham a marvel.  The orchestra were hidden in the concert hall behind the staggered seating and open to the sky and, surprisingly, the excellence of the acoustics or the singing, was in no way diminished.  Each of the singers had tiny microphones, visible only when seen on video.   
Death with a sickle haunts the opera

A production, so full of delightful tricks and surprises that were never gratuitous….Marat’s eyes light up and close, a singer appears in his open mouth, crowds rush up and down the staircases, over his shoulder, on to a platform held by a giant hand that swung away for more action on the side... Marat's torso opens wide...a giant knife pierces his side...all these miraculous coups de theatre enhanced the drama and made for constant excitement - a triumph!

1 comment:

  1. Dear John
    that bump I left London with in 1994 is now 6ft 2in tall & doing his university entrance - who would have known?

    I think of you often & cherish the memory of working for you, you opened tne eyes of a small town provincial girl to a wider world of art, literature, appreciation of historical context than you will ever know.

    I hope you are well & happy.

    Alana Lacy