In a moment of dissonance, Simon Boccanegra’s flag-draped coffin was carried onto the stage before the dying man fell. Hilarious humor or sloppy? Vasily Barkhatov’s new production for the Deutsche Oper in Berlin is indistinguishable.
God knows, Berlin could use a decent new Simon BocanegraVerdi’s dark thriller was last played in an inadequate fashion in a static costume drama at the Unter den Linden in 2009, and it was purely Placido Domingo’s first foray into a male role. The carrier of the alto role. It’s entirely possible for a new work to be even better. It is not.
Balkhatov tells Verdi’s medieval tale of politics and poisoning as a modern story—and it is: Politics and poisoning are still popular. So far, so good. The problem wasn’t Olga Shaishmelashvili’s National Day gala outfit, or even Zinovy Margolin’s ever-twirling monumental set. The problem is that Barkhatov just moves his characters around the stage without actually directing them. The result is aimlessness and tedium, with lots of standing and the occasional casual sitting.
Between acts, Barkhatov projects a bunch of fake Italian media headlines (video: Martin Attenborough), while an annoying voice-over tells part of the story as if no one has read the synopsis.
A strong lead might have saved the day, but all Jader Bignamini did was mark the beat. This is a score that should emanate repressed sparks of tension from the word go, rather than swimming in the basin of ambient lyricism. Where it should drive, it’s limp; where it should burst and scream, it remains flat.
The cast is solid but never sensational. In the lead role, George Petean has weight and stamina. Liang Li’s Fiesco provides a pleasing note to the underlying violence. But Attilio Glaser is as monotonous as Adorno, and not even Maria Mottoligina’s pure, broad, open vocal range in the role of Amelia could lift the evening from its own mundaneness. rescued from.
With its money and resources, the Deutsche Oper should deliver excellence. How much has to be dysfunctional in this house for the results to be so off par? It’s maddening, but also deeply sad.
until February 25, deutscheoperberlin.de