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Barbara Camenzind in a range of costumes supplied a clutch of shivery vignettes, while Christoph Kayser served up a performance almost as eerie as the duo (as Richard's curious doppelgänger and fellow prisoner, Andreas). Tenor Dale Albright (a Tiroler Landestheater regular who has already appeared in Johnny Spielt Auf, Im Weissen Rössl and Rosenkavalier, and will sing Herr M in their forthcoming production of Hindemith's Neues von Tage this May) has a tour-de-force task as the forever 'tired' Richard, and brought with him the right kind of pathetic ineffectiveness and incomprehension (the antihero role would be an obvious one for the UK's Paul Nilon). Susanne Winter (Sophie in Innsbruck's current Rosenkavalier) as a slightly underdirected, scarlet-clad Mab was better at the noisome than the beguiling aspects : her upper register paid dividends towards the end.

Susanne Winter as Mab and Dale Albright as Richard in the Tiroler Landes Theater 2002 production of Häftling von Mab. Photo: Rupert Larl

The worst thing to my ears about Häftling von Mab was the slightly unforgiving unmemorability of Demetz's vocal lines, and even of the score as a whole. The Tiroler Symphonieorchester's performance, conducted by Dorian Keilhack, had a vivid immediacy and urgency, and some of the dark brass and (particularly) tuned percussion playing was admirable, and even galvanising. But it failed to key me up, just as the subject matter, perhaps deliberately, left me never quite sure whether this was an earnest morality tale or a spoof and a send-up. Perhaps, to its credit in a genre that felt infused by surrealistic expressionism, it was both.

A scene from the Tiroler Landes Theater 2002 production of Häftling von Mab. Photo: Rupert Larl


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Copyright © 14 April 2002 Roderic Dunnett, Athens, Greece





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