Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Munich Opera Festival 2010: The Silent Woman

And so The Silent Woman (Die Schweigsame Frau) was premiered last  night in Munich. The German reviewers all seem to be delighted by the show staged by Barrie Kosky (awesome Aussie whose staging at the Komische in Berlin made Rigoletto-opera look intelligent), which after an overall disappointing Tosca comes to rescue the Festival 2010.

Diana Damrau and Toby Spence in Die Schweigsame Frau

The press is particularly gushing over Diana Damrau and Toby Spence who made the evening memorable, and the whole cast appears to have been extremely good [of course nobody resists converting Die schweigsame Frau into Die schwangere Frau -- Diana is pregnant]. The reviews you can read are: here, here, here, and more... Excellent conducting by Kent Nagano is emphasized too.

I'm glad I'll be able to see this show. I don't know this opéra-comique at all. It's a rarely staged Strauss and, strangely enough it's not in the 2010-2011 program of the Bayrische Staatsoper. So, it's now or... or who knows when?! :)

3 more pics and videos (all from BSO) attached below

Franz Hawlata and Diana Damrau

The spirit of the Komische Oper Berlin visits the Prinzregenten Theater in Munich

Here is your trailer: 

And a longer video with interviews (in German): 


  1. I saw Die Schweigsame Frau on Friday 23 July. It was an absolute triumph. What a revelation for a Strauss lover to discover a new masterpiece, very convincingly performed and staged. The end of the first act was the most exhilarating riot of colour, music and activity. As with other Strauss comdedies (the commedia dell'arte in Ariadne, and the final scene in Rosenkavalier) the music is just the framework for the director to create the theatrical experience, and he certainly succeeds here. Diana Damrau and Toby Spence are indeed very good. Apparently, when interviwed on radio, Ms Damrau said the role is more difficult than Zerbinetta (Ariadne). For me the star was the barber, Nikolay Borchev, whose stage presence made the drama hang together. Franz Hawlata as the main character was perhaps a little disappointing, not establishing sympathy for the good man turned cantakerous by his hearing affliction. So the final denoument where he renounces his grumpy ways lacks the sense of a Damascene moment. The performance was very warmly received by an appreciative audience. This is a must-see but I suspect the tickets will have gone now. I'm sure this milestone production will ensure we hear a lot more of Die Schweigsame Frau.

  2. Many thanks David! I'm glad you noticed Borchev too. Last year during the Festival in Munich of all the opera stars I was especially impressed by Borchev and Sindram.

    Wow! If it's tougher to sing Aminta than Zerbinetta then it's not a surprise that the opera is rarely staged. ;)

    On the other hand, what you say about Hawlata doesn't surprise me. It's been 5 years that he's spoiling the shows he's in.

    I have a ticket for the 3rd show. Can't wait :)