An evening of subtle brutality,
by KAREN HAID
Beauty, harmony, subtle nuance -- these are some of the words that the music of Mozart evoke for me. So on a recent visit to Berlin the offering of The Magic Flute by the Komische Oper seemed inviting. I knew that this opera company wasn't considered to be the city's top tier, but such wonderful music in the language of the country was sure to have pleasant moments.
My friend and I showed up at the box office about half an hour before the start of a Saturday night performance [9 December 2007], hopeful of finding a pair of tickets left. A handful were still available, starting from an unbelievable eight euros for seats with an obstructed view. We, however, opted to purchase orchestra seats for twenty-five euros apiece, a little less than half the face value, from two patrons unable to attend that evening's performance.
Settling into our ninth row center seats in the lovely neo-Baroque theater, the overture began. The orchestra was adequate, but partway through, the curtain went up and down for no apparent reason. As I was sitting in a professional opera house, I remember thinking that a stagehand error was unlikely and recalled a negative comment from an older woman in my friend's building -- something to do with a very modern production. I don't mind new approaches and mentally prepared myself for some sort of random integration in the overall design. However as the overture continued, I must admit that I hoped the curtain somehow had malfunctioned.
Copyright © 24 February 2007
Karen Haid, Las Vegas, USA