Mozart wrote the opera seria Mitridate at the age of fifteen. The Bayerische Staatsoper’s clever and strangely beautiful production positions it as the work of a child, full of rebellious teenagers and projected scenery seemingly drawn from a primary school art class. But unfortunately even excellent singing and much directorial invention cannot disguise that this is a rather bland opera, and its four hours pass slowly.Read the whole thing here. On second thought, closing out a busy week with four hours of Mozart seria juvenilia may not have been the best plan! But the production and singing were lovely, and I enjoyed them, which I think means I am not being unfair to find the opera itself dull. The score has charm but it doesn't do much for the characters or plot. This is, of course, a stock complaint for the opera seria genre, but not one with which I agree, on the whole. But for this piece it applies.
It was also great to see Lisette Oropesa in a bigger role! She has a lovely voice and presence and is horribly underused by the Met. I'm not sure if this coloratura-heavy role was quite right for her talents, though. She can sing it just fine but it's not her strongest point, and I would rather hear her as Ilia or Despina or Zerlina.
Director David Bösch was also responsible for the Bay Staats's touching Elisir d'amore, which is in a similar style.
A bit about the theater: it's a beautiful small space located in the eastern Munich neighborhood of Bogenhausen. The wide, raked arena auditorium was built to be a near-exact copy of Bayreuth. The only major differences are an open pit (currently, at least), more elaborate decoration, and more lobby space. I didn't hear an acoustic similar to Bayreuth's, either, but comparing Mozart and Wagner is really difficult. Today the Prinzregententheater hosts a variety of groups both theatrical and musical; unfortunately the theater is too small to make putting on Wagner practical, though it has been done in the past. (They still manage at Bayreuth, but that's special.)
Continue to see a lot more pictures of this pretty pretty production.
These photos show last year's Aspasia, Patricia Petibon. Petibon has the gift of Crazy, which this year's Anja-Nina Bahrmann didn't, and I could have seen her working a little better dramatically speaking. The rest of the cast is the same except for Marzio. Unfortunately the very nice projections aren't really visible (I think projection scenery doesn't photograph well?).
Photos copyright Wilfred Hösl.