Grange Park Opera's 'Capriccio',
enjoyed by ROBERT HUGILL
The background to Stephen Medcalf's new production of Richard Strauss' Capriccio (seen Sunday 20 June 2010) at Grange Park Opera is the fact that it was premièred in Munich in 1942 at the NationalTheater, in the middle of the war and that the NationalTheater itself would take a direct hit during a bombing raid and be burned down the following year.
Given this history it is obviously not quite possible to set a production strictly during the period of its first performance, and all productions that I have seen (La Monnaie, Brussels; Glyndebourne; Covent Garden) have relocated the time period to the first quarter of the twentieth century, so that the closing moments could be described briefly as Countess in glamorous 20s dress, moonlight, elegant building.
Medcalf and his designer Francis O'Connor open the piece on the bare stage of a rather shabby German theatre. Before the music starts, the Countess (Susan Gritton) comes on wearing smart 1940s street clothes. She takes a copy of the score, sits at the very edge of the stage, looks down into the pit, gives the conductor (Stephen Barlow) a signal and the Sextet starts...
Copyright © 24 June 2010