Mozart antisystem | Culture | THE COUNTRY

Mozart antisystem | Culture | THE COUNTRY

"This ridiculous product, rancid and meaningless (...) would be forgotten and despised if not for the composition of the great Mozart, but thanks to the talent of this genius, deployed in this work with all its strength, the work triumphed, with people ignoring the nonsense that a Moor, a birder and a witch say in their harangues, surrendering completely to the delicious melodies, laughing at the cartoons and delighting in the magic of the music, lamenting only that such great talents do not They would have placed themselves at the service of a more dignified and nobler theme. " This anonymous contemporary critique of the premiere of The magic Flute in 1791 it receives, in line with the production that has just premiered at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, a special news. There is an unconditional admiration for Mozart and a poorly disguised personal annoyance by Emanuel Schikaneder, librettist of the opera and interpreter of the first Papageno. Nothing needs to be said now of one or the other, but of this Graham Vick production premiered last summer at the Macerata Festival which, as in its day at the Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna, has caused all the localities As soon as you enter the room, even before the show began, the first thing that catches your attention is that it is literally taken by posters and slogans displayed from the proscenium to the front of all the upper floors: "Just pensions, already! "," No to the violence of gender "," For the defense of public health "," Prou ​​de desnonaments "," Long live democracy! "," Against corruption "," In defense of the rights and freedom "," Against the masquerade violence "," House per a tots "and a long etcetera carefully bilingual, for that of political correctness.

On the stage are three buildings representative of the power of money (an imitation of the headquarters of the European Central Bank), religion (a church) and capitalism (an Apple store) and, beside it, tents scattered by the street in the line of those who populated the center of the cities on 15-M. Many of these protesters swarm and end up filling the stage during the interpretation of the overture, after which Tamino, dressed in tracksuits and with a bag of the Valencia Club de Fútbol on his shoulder, appears engulfed inside the shovel of a yellow bulldozer, where they rescue the three ladies, turned into municipal workers with reflective overalls, although it is not understood that they also leave a tent. Actually, since the overture it is difficult to understand anything that happens or, above all, why it happens.


Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. With Mariangela Sicilia, Dmitri Korchak, Wilhelm Schwinghammer, Tetiana Zhuravel and Mark Stone, among others. Cor de la Generalitat Valenciana and Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana. Musical direction: Lothar Koenigs. Stage direction: Graham Vick. Palau de les Arts, until December 15.

After the opera, more than three hours after it started, one still wonders why the posters, the presence of the "people" in the course of the performance and the last (or first) message that wants to move us Graham Vick, the director of scene, here a mere transgressor without cause. Sadly, all the paraphernalia is at all times accessory and absolutely dispensable, because it does not provide an apex of meaning to what the characters of Mozart's opera sing and say, which has remained, fortunately, largely unchanged. But the singers talk in German, while the "people" interpellate them, or rebuke them, or interrupt them, speaking in Castilian in an uncomfortably Zarzuela tone, without understanding why Sarastro, or Papageno, suddenly change the German language. for the Castilian to replicate them. It is understood that in order to interact with them, but belong to such different worlds, they are expressed in such different cultural languages ​​and codes and the assembly does so little to bring them closer or to build bridges between them, that there is no situation screech, as there is none that arouses laughter at a stroke of ingenuity or a display of fantasy.

The most that can be sketched is a slight smile when seeing the three boys appear mounted on electric scooters in the first act or turned into altar boys in the second. But disguising Papageno as a chicken in his role as a fast-food delivery man, turning Sarastro's entourage into a multicultural concoction of generals, cardinals, orthodox patriarchs, rabbis, Hindu saints, magistrates, top executives, making Pamina a silly little girl with a pink dress and long braids, cross dress the three ladies of priests in the second act and a long string of nonsense, not only does not add, but subtraction, account after account, until the end much of the audience exploded and booed loudly the show and, especially, to its stage managers after concluding a tediosisima representation, which closes with a discotequero dance of all the protagonists and the choir that produces almost shame of others and with the symbolic fall of those three representative buildings of the system.

Sarastro, Pamina and Papageno in the final scene of the first act of 'La fluuta mágica'.
Sarastro, Pamina and Papageno in the final scene of the first act of 'La fluuta mágica'.

Musically, there was nothing to indicate that we were in a first-class opera house, or that it has been at least not so long ago. The best, without any doubt, the quality of the orchestra (although it is not what it was) and the chorus, which prevented the shipwreck from being even more. Lothar Koenigs, a director more accustomed and who offers better results in current repertoires, made a correct conclusion, but offered a tremendously flat interpretation and, in general, boring, if not outright bland. The better or the deeper the music is, as in the exceptional duo of armed men (here they do not know very well what), with their instrumental introduction of Bachian roots, the orchestral performance was less elevated, which sounded like anesthetized by the nonsense that reigned on the stage.

Neither the cast could do much to green the laurels of yesteryear, when great figures of the lyric appeared assiduously in the distributions of the Palau de les Arts. Integrated almost exclusively by very young and inexperienced singers, none seemed really inappropriate for the role, but neither could a single moment of real vocal or interpretative distinction be heard. The Ukrainian Tetiana Zhuravel was a Queen of the Night safe in the agility, but little dramatic or intimidating, and the Sarastro of Wilhelm Schwinghammer, dressed but devoid of scenic personality, did not pass from an aseptic ca correction. Better the three ladies, all of them coming out of the Center Plácido Domingo, while the Tamino of Dmitri Korchak and the Pamina of Mariangela Sicilia never awaken our empathy or subjugate us with the beauty of their arias. Mark Stone strives, and much, for being a funny and sharp Papageno, but neither did he manage to get the representation of the plain and the absolute absence of humor.

In his famous cinematographic recreation of The magic Flute, made in Swedish in 1974 in the theater of Drottningholm, Ingmar Bergman took not few liberties, suppressing several musical numbers and drastically altering the end of the second act, decisions that could be discussed by the purists, but few could reproach the teacher who distorted the double condition of story and philosophical reflection of the original opera, or that would alter it until it becomes unrecognizable, as has happened here, the spirit of the work. Nor have they, more recently, the extraordinary assemblies of Barrie Kosky and 1927, a display of fantasy and visual findings that could be seen in the Royal Theater, Y Simon McBurney, a wonder that is taking shape almost artisanally on the fly and that premiered at the Festival of Aix-en-Provence. The problem of Graham Vick is that he bases his stage proposal on a slight occurrence -not even an idea- with an apparent pull, perhaps wanting to win the sympathy of some and provoke the animosity of others (that bourgeoisie and Valencian bourgeoisie that filled the room at the premiere), but, as soon as the overture begins, everything becomes a gigantic and growing non sequitur. A spectator was heard harshly shouting loudly at all the participants in the show, and especially the stage team, for "having smashed a work of art." It is not a matter of becoming so transcendent, but the truth is that this Magic Flute It is a nonsense from beginning to end that leaves very few handles for enjoyment. Fortunately, as the critic who attended the Viennese premiere and admired the music and deplored the libretto, Mozart survives and will survive this potion that he has tried to put under the magnifying glass of Ernesto Laclau and Thomas Piketty. What we have just seen is far from being a finding or a wise temporal and ideological transposition. It is, simply, the converted classic hero, as in the Callejón del Gato, in a grotesque.


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