Paul (tenor): Jonas Kaufmann
Marie/Marietta (soprano): Marlis Petersen
Juliette (soprano): Mirjam Mezak
Brigitta (mezzo-soprano): Jennifer Johnston
Frank-Fritz (baritone): Andrzej Filonczyk
This performance of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Die tote Stadt, 2019, finally came to me from the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich. I've been wishing for it. It's a reminder that the current management disappears in the fall of 2021. Goodbye to Petrenko.
We begin with Paul returning home where he has been away. He removes
sheets covering the furniture and throws everything to Brigitta. Paul's young wife has recently died, and he has become obsessed with another young woman who looks like his dead wife. Paul appears to be a screamer role. I love Jonas but prefer him not screaming. When he's not screaming, Jonas is glorious. You know that. He's a wonderful singer and actor with spectacular diction and a fabulous legato. The rotating stage set seems to work well.
A blond woman comes in on a bicycle. She enters the house through the window. He appears to have invited her for dinner since the table is set. She puts on one of his wife's dresses, and he calls her Marie. She reminds him that her name is Marietta. They sing Mariettas Lied. It's very beautiful and intense. It's Jonas. What else would it be? I like the production a lot so far. [My favorite]
Very quickly we move to a flashback with a bald woman who must be his wife who died, and she must have died of cancer. What a fast change, for this is also Marlis Petersen. No hair, bare feet, hospital gown.
At the beginning of Act II we see Brigitta in a nun's uniform with other nuns. She says this is her life now. Marietta is having fun with a group of friends. Paul drags her away and initiates sex. Marlis Petersen may be just the right singing actress for her role. She wears the unfeminine shoes throughout, except when she's barefoot, to protect her feet in this very athletic role. The plot becomes confused, especially for me whose copy has no titles.
In Act III we still have the rotating building, but in each act the configuration has changed. A chorus of children appears and disappears without explanation. And here we have Marie and Marietta in the same scene. Then there are a crowd of bald Maries. I have a feeling this is brilliant. Jonas is having such a great career. Both of these roles are bears. That's reason enough not to perform it. She's dancing around in his dead wife's wig, and he strangles her with it. "Now you're just like her." Just when we think she's dead, she comes out, gets on her bicycle and rides away. I think I love it.
We return to the beginning with the return of Brigitta and Fritz. Marietta returns for her roses. Paul burns stuff including Marie's wig. This is the best part of the regie. Marie wore a wig because of her cancer treatments. Jonas sings Marietta's Lied, and there is still ein Auferstehen. I'm so glad I returned to see this.