Saturday, July 28, 2018
Bayreuth Opens with a new LOHENGRIN
The look of the production closely mirrors Neo Rauch's works, where figures dressed like Baroque figures from a Flemish painting (the costumes are by Ms. Loy) occupy a landscape filled with figurative and abstract objects. A power plant, with visible electrical wires comes to life as Lohengrin (Piotr Beczala) appears, dressed as an electrician, his weapon is a lightning rod sword. Elsa (Anja Harteros) already seems to feel the "sparks" brought on by her knight since her bluish hair seems to stand up on its own.The villains of the piece, Telramund and Ostrud (Tomasz Konieczny and Waltraud Meier) are deliciously evil in a silent movie kind of way, although we really feel sorry for Telramund when Lohengrin tears off one of his wings during their combat scene, and then pins it on a tree.
It's all about the colors in this production, and why not, since the sets are by a famed artist. Although much of the evening is clad in the kind of blue that reminds one of the backdrops of many a Balanchine ballet, the love scene in Act III is a very bright orange. When Gottfried finally makes his appearance at the end of the opera he is a man covered with bright green fur. These surprise colors are quite remarkable.
Is it a great production? I'm not sure yet. I'm looking forward to watching it live at Bayreuth in a couple of weeks. It looked great for the cameras, and I hope it looks just as beautiful at the Festspielhaus.