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Staatsoper Unter den Linden - preview March & April 2023

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An Ancient City Revisited

Christopher Ward provided the evening with focused, balanced direction, making sense of the score’s metallic textures, interjections of arrhythmic percussion and myriad musical references without depriving the most grandly-scaled scenes of their force. The choir, too, were on fine form, bringing a vast, weighty sound to key moments. If Mr Widmann intended the opening chorus and the surprisingly optimistic conclusion to sound unwieldy and slightly chaotic, the massed forces of the orchestra and choir gave them an accessible immediacy. Indeed, the musical clarity of Babylon’s most ambitious moments went some distance to tempering the story’s dramatic imbalances. If Mr Sloterdijk’s libretto was unwilling to let plot or character get in the way of large themes, Mr Widmann’s flirtations with traditional operatic pleasures and his ability to construct scenes on an epic scale may prove enough to draw audiences into the opera’s intellectual world. Babylon has traditionally been a world of spectacle, and the opera, for all its attempts at revisionism, was not without its own sense of the spectacular.

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02 avril 2019www.mundoclasico.comJesse Simon

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