|Semperoper: level 1 foyer|
My seat neighbour told me she would not have gone either except that she had read in the local paper that the production was witty with lots of visual gags.
“You have to be careful what you see nowadays,” she said. “I have been disappointed too often.”
My neighbour’s newspaper was right. It was a witty production (by Michael Dijkema) and the wit saved it as the story is silly, and three hours long. I didn't know any of the singers but they were all good.
The performance took place in a swamp, complete with crocodile and all of the performers wore elaborately muddy eastern style boots and clothes with mud encrusted hems. They often got stuck in the swamp. The German heros were silly when they weren't singing (the silly story is punctuated with lovely arias) and the Turkish servant was a buffoon. The only character to emerge honourably from the story was the evil looking Turkish Pasha.
There was a lot of spoken dialogue and I'm not sure how much was from Mozart and how much was added as I hadn't seen this opera previously. The spoken and sung dialogue appeared as subtitles above the performers in both German and English so I imagine a lot of foreigners visit the Semperoper for a performance while they are here.
The air conditioning is interesting. Each seat has its own grill so the air gently rises instead of being blown down from above.
|Top of chair with air-con vent|
|Portraits of conductors on the ceiling of the Semperoper|
|Semperoper: curtain saved from the firestorm.|