27 October 2010

Moshinsky's ROH Lohengrin moves to Chicago

The dusty Lohengrin production by Elijah Moshinsky from Royal Opera House Covent Garden is now moving to Chicago Lyric Opera.

Wagnerian superstars like Johan Botha (one of the best singing Lohengrins today), Emily Magee (see Peter Konwitschny's Lohengrin production on DVD), Michaela Schuster (Ortrud) and Georg Zeppenfeld (Herald - last seen in this role at Bayreuth this summer in Hans Neuenfels' Lohengrin "rat production") join forces with Sir Andrew Davis and the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

February 11, 16, 20, 25
March 1, 5, 8

1 comment:

billkolb said...

I am afraid I agree fully with Mark Berry's critique of the dreadful production qualities of Moshinsky's staging of Lohengrin, which has not gotten any better as it moves to Chicago. The box like-staging forces an already small stage to appear inadequate for the large chorus. There is no real juxtapositioning of Christian and pagan symbols--the symbols appear altogether pagan apart from a few Byzantine-style banners. The props consist of three gigantic cult totems which vaguely resemble sword hilts. They are topped with pagan symbols, a rams horn, a hand, and a Roman eagle, perhaps looted from one of the three legions (XVII, XVIII, & XIX) lost in the Teutoborg forest. One of them seems to have an Egyptian style mummy strapped to it. For some reasons the monks pull and climb all over the pagan totems. Lohengrin uses a Japanese katana sword, suggesting that the grail castle is not located in Montsalvat but rather somewhere in Japan. The staging of the chorus is non-existant, they just stumble around the stage looking for a place to stand. While the music conducted by Sir Andrew Davis was beautiful and high marks go to Johan Botha, Michaela Schuster, Greer Grimsley and Emily Magee, I must ask why such great talent is wasted in such a lamentable production. Moshinsky clearly needs to find another line of work. Lyric Opera needs to stop buying rubbish from Covent Garden--I am sure they could have come up with something better in a new production using props from the warehouse, and the Chicago audience should be less forgiving of lack of artistry by the director. And no swan boat! -- just a projection of something that might be an image of a swan (emphasis on might) and what seems to be a emblem of a swan on Lohengrin's shiny brass (and unused) shield. A projection might work for an image of the grail, but not for the swan boat.