Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Die Tote Stadt, San Francisco Opera

Tuesday September 23, 2008.

I've waiting a long time to see this.  I had very high expectations.

Korngold's score is filled with clever orchestral moments, peppered like bon mots throughout the score.  Yes, it's very Strauss, very 19th Century, and indeed a direct predecessor to Hollywood film music in its "golden age."  

The story did not grab me.  I was not taken by any of the characters or the situation, and the symbolism of the drama failed to impress me.  Paul is just pathetic; pining for the unattainable, he reminded me a bit of Aschenbach in Britten's Death in Venice, except Paul is even less fun.  The revised "oh it was just a dream" ending is just tired and obviously tacked on.  Not much happens; Paul's struggle is largely internal. The opera is permeated by a continual, low level tension throughout, which fails to provide any real dramatic structure, and hence becomes wearisome.  Upbeat moments with Marietta's dancer friends seem deliberately concocted and thrown in out of necessity.  The moral of the story is "get over yourself Mary."

So yeah, I was diasppointed.

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