A Needless Diversion
aus dem Serail' -
'The applause of the Amsterdam audience is notably muted.'
Stage directors earn my respect in direct proportion to the understanding they show of the composers they are privileged to work for. 'Traurigkeit' is one of Mozart's most affecting arias, and when Mojca Erdmann's Blonde distracts attention from the Konstanze of Laura Alkin by arranging cushions on her mistress's ottoman until the heroine rightly throws one of them at her, I would cheerfully have hurled every cushion on stage or in the theatre itself at Johan Simons for his bothersome lack of sensitivity. Perhaps it also shows psychological insight into the Nubian character when Osmin's young assistant fawns upon and weeps for the arrested Konstanze and Belmonte; but again it is a needless diversion from Mozart.
Bert Neumann's set gives no hint that the Pasha's palace may be near enough the sea for Belmonte to have a rescue ship in the vicinity; indeed the establishment is notably glum, with vulgar harem scenes this once-Christian and very civilized Selim (Steven Van Watermeulen) would not have countenanced for a moment. I suppose a couple of ottomans give convincing local colour, but too often the characters are requested to discourse while lying or sitting on them...
Copyright © 1 August 2011