Premiere of Detlev Glanert's opera Jewess of Toledo in Dresden | EUROtoday

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Dhe oft-claimed and surprisingly usually confirmed, typically downright heartfelt connection between Catholicism and fascism – system theorists would converse of “structural resonance” – is at all times a grateful topic for opera administrators. We nonetheless vividly bear in mind Hans Neuenfels' Berlin manufacturing of Verdi's “Power of Destiny”, through which the Catholic clergy act as henchmen of a army junta in an armored patrol automotive – heidewitzka! – drove to the truthful.

Now, on the premiere of Detlev Glanert's newest stage work “The Jewess of Toledo” on the Dresden Semperoper, Robert Carsen has a priest blessing weapons in entrance of a gathering of blackshirts match for warfare: to Glanert's instinctively stirring choir sounds, which painting revenge and retaliation as pleasure, as a type of To describe collective Eros, the priest performs a silent solo with incense and holy water over an enormous pile of submachine weapons on the altar.

But, as I stated, this political denunciation is previous hat on the stage. What follows is new and extra daring. While the Jew Esther curses the Castilian King Alfonso VIII as a result of he had her sister Rahel, his lover, murdered for political causes, and whereas the choir requires retribution towards the infidels “in the name of Christianity,” Carsen has video photographs of tanks and helicopters and warfare frigates, together with destroyed residential buildings, which shortly make you consider Gaza. Yes, a number of the black-shirted troopers even grasp white and blue scarves round their shoulders, like those the Jewish girl Rahel wore. It's a maelstrom of indicators and references that the director triggers within the final seconds.

A capriccio of present criticism of Israel

The libretto by Hans-Ulrich Treichel might have impressed him. Because with sentences like: “They are full of poison like a poisonous snake, like a deaf adder that closes its ear. O God, crush their teeth in their mouths! Break, O Lord, the teeth of the lions!”, Treichel quotes Psalm 58 in a modernized translation by Martin Luther, i.e. an previous Jewish prayer of retribution and vengeance translated by a Christian theologian who, in flip, has additionally come out as anti-Semitic.

The thrill should have been just too nice for the Canadian director, who will even be directing the brand new “Everyman” in Salzburg this summer time: after the political anti-Semitism was advised by means of the play, which relies on a drama by Franz Grillparzer, he feels Carsen legitimizes himself as a capriccio of present criticism of Israel. Maybe he needs to show to the American “Strike Germany” supporters that the corridors of opinion in Germany’s cultural world will not be that slim.

A love affair as a state affair

But Carsen doesn't discover that by updating it, he himself is perpetuating the spiral of retaliation that he truly claims to be criticizing. By now pointing the finger at at this time's actors of army retaliation, he continues the story of the offsetting of guilt, which within the play itself drives the doom. His ultimate picture – the mute, child-like inheritor to the throne (Hennes Neuber) in entrance of a area filled with corpses – would even have been sturdy sufficient and wouldn’t have wanted the finger-pointing accusation of the current.

Otherwise, the piece and manufacturing are completely faultless. They wished to repeat the success that the Glanert, Treichel, Carsen staff achieved in Berlin in 2019 with “Oceane” primarily based on Theodor Fontane in Dresden, the place they love tried and examined. Treichel, who already wrote libretti for Glanert's instructor Hans Werner Henze, has stringently condensed Grillparzer's piece right into a love affair as a state affair. Glanert wrote music that tells the story clearly, captures the conditions suggestively, attracts vocal characters succinctly and helps the language to shine. When Queen Eleonore embarrasses her husband Alfonso in entrance of the kid with the sentence “Your father is sensitive,” Glanert places the prosody in a pointedly pointed method. And Tanja Ariane Baumgartner, who’s nice in each scenario anyway, lets this sentence come out of her lips in a snarky, nasty method.

Delicately balanced, elegantly phrasing performed

The love music for Alfonso and Rahel is beguilingly tender from the primary encounter and envelops the voices within the fluffy flannel of muted strings. Again and once more an English horn wails with arabesques like from the soundtrack to “The Thief of Bagdad”, and with the intention to make the close by Moors in entrance of Toledo's partitions much more current, Nassib Ahmadieh performs preludes of the loudest peacefulness on the ud, the Persian lute. Only Christians know tin-plated indignation: Turba choirs with tuba boosters. And when Chancellor Manrique (the pithily severe Markus Marquardt) introduces the Council of State to the Queen, Glanert writes a worthy passacaglia, the bass of which you’ll be able to simply sing alongside to after listening to it twice.

As historical because the vault that Carsen and Luis F. Carvalho placed on the stage is, the ministerial official fits and workplace costumes that Carvalho places the singers in are simply as trendy. Heidi Stober provides Rahel probably the most cheerful vocal attraction, Lilly Jørstad provides Esther a visionary Brangänen glow. Aaron Pegram provides the Chancellor's son Garceran nervous ambition, and Christoph Pohl as Alfonso is a mannequin of fickleness – completely comprehensible from the textual content.

Delicately balanced, elegantly phrasing, Jonathan Darlington conducts the Staatskapelle Dresden, and Jonathan Becker has enabled the Staatsopernchor to carry out not solely as a scenic-vocal actor, but in addition as an atmospheric instrument, as an prolonged orchestra, on this opulent, refined Grand Opéra.