What was the first performance of Queen
Kay is lost to the world and to his dear friend Gerda. She cannot and does not want to accept the loss, holds on to her feelings, overcomes all obstacles and finally finds it. Kriegenburg moves this search for the lost friend to a psychiatric clinic. Slightly shabby, tiled sterility defines the interior at first glance. When the gates open, a poetic world becomes visible at the same time. Nurses with their winged headgear move like angels through the white rooms. Another room becomes visible behind every translucent plastic wall. In the last one, at the very back, it looks like in an operating room or in the pathology department.
The fact that the title role is not, as one might expect, ascribed to a coloratura soprano, like the Queen of the Night, but to a bass, becomes a precipice for the production, in which the encounter that Kay has with the Snow Queen is seen as an assault with intent to abuse. Kay's silence and emotional freezing would then be a trauma that follows. Kriegenburg gives up the linear narrative that follows the passage of time and instead relies on a poetic dreamlike simultaneity. Gerda and Kay are doubled on stage as children and adolescents. Kay is (for Gerda?) Often present (in the form of Thomas Gräßle) as Rachel Wilson's mute, that is, sick alter ego. So the exuberant happy ending may only take place in Gerda's fantasy. Like in Thomas Manns Magic Mountain she devoured the world she entered in search of something lost.
As usual here, Munich offers an exemplary ensemble of protagonists. Barbara Hannigan uses her athletically based acting charisma and her excellent vocal expressiveness for the role of the actively searching Gerda. The composer had it in his mind for this part. He was only able to check whether rightly so in Munich - the exceptional Canadian singer only takes on roles in languages that she speaks. The mezzo-soprano Rachel Wilson also fascinates as a Kay at eye level. Peter Rose is downright underchallenged in the title role, but also takes on the reindeer helping to find Kay and, at the end, the clock. In the course of Gerda's search, the grandmother (Kataryna Dalayman) becomes an enigmatic flower woman and then a magical Finn woman. Caroline Wettergreen and Dean Power appear as the prince couple, two crows (Kevin Conners and Owen Willetts) - like the reindeer - help out in the search.
The music extensively imagines this floating in nightmare worlds. She relies on minimalistic soundscapes with an often beguiling sensual charm, from which eruptions like snowstorms arise from time to time. The Stuttgart GMD Cornelius Meister stood at the podium of the Bavarian State Orchestra for the first time and impressed with his sovereign mastery of the complex score.CONCLUSION
For the fairy-tale musical seduction by Hans Abrahamsen's first opera, Munich is offering an excellent ensemble of protagonists and Andreas Kriegenburg is presenting his most convincing production in a long time.
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