master and they do not show the same love that earlier singers had, like Maria Jeritza and that you would sack on the spot, one who
that Strauss had for the human voice. But on Richard Tauber in the twenties. Crowning the dresses as a French maid and prances around a
the stage, in an exceptionally fine production, evening was the début in the Royal Opera lot and another who gives a good Oliver
the story is told with the know-how of a House of the Conductor Ingo Metzmacher; Hardy impersonation – and also prances
master. no praise is too high for his handling of the around a lot.
The story is very much of its time, a time score and the orchestra. In fact, with the dignified exception of the
when Europe was still lamenting the mass kill- The story was originally a novel called Countess, the entire cast seem to be suffering
ing of millions of men so that remembrance of Bruges-la-morte by Georges Rodenbach and from St Vitas’ Dance, which probably explains
the dead was in many people’s mind (Conan the opera libretto was by the composer him- why the local quack has prescribed ballet bars
Doyle and all that cult), Die Tote Stadt is about self, with the helping hand – only revealed in in the boudoir and spotlights to let them
Paul, still grieving obsessively for his wife 1975 – of his father, Julius who, as a feared pretend they are in their own little show.
Marie, conserving her memory with portraits Viennese music critic, sensibly wished to The wine Figaro threatens with a flick knife
of her, even a plait of her hair. One day, how- remain anonymous, fearing that his reputat- and is then forced down poor Cherubino’s
ever in the dead city of Bruges (get the ion might harm his son’s. When Die Tote Stadt throat might be red, the flavour of the dance
connection?) he sees a (dead) ringer of that had its premiere Korngold was only twenty- and gestures Spanish. Yes I am sure I got a
wife. She is called Marietta, a dancer (who three years of age. JOHN AMIS whiff of turkey in this co production with
might perhaps be cast as Odile); is she imm- Footnote: In California Korngold wrote many Gran Teatre del Liceu. Maybe it was more to
oral because she wants to enslave every man or film scores of greater interest than most in their taste when it opened in the run up to last
is she a child of nature? Paul’s grief gives way particular Robin Hood and The Private Lives of year’s festive season.
to infatuation. Paul’s best friend is Frank but Elizabeth and Essex. He invented good tunes– Fortunately the Cardiff first night audience
he becomes a rival, for he seems also to be but he also composed a Violin Concerto and, his responded accordingly when Barcelona director
having it off with Marietta, she is also casting masterpiece, a symphony in F sharp minor that Luis Pasqual took his curtain call and gave
sexual favours to all-comers, including Count/ is a worthy successor to Mahler’s No 10. The polite applause having quite correctly reserved
Pierrot of a Harlequinade (shades of Ariadne Heifetz recor