Tuesday, 13 November 2012
Alban Berg - Wozzeck
When faced with the choice between hearing an opera from the late romantic period that you have never heard before, or watching football with a pizza bread in one hand and a beer in the other, which do you go for? No really. It's not that easy. By no means is this a 'no brainer'. It is a full-blown, whole cerebrum dilemma of a conundrum. Both have their merits. Both entail dangers and sacrifices. For those who have no interest in opera of which I know there are many, the decision is an obvious one. You settle into the sofa, you direct your peepers towards the funny flashing screen in front of you and you follow the movements of the little men running around on a muddy field like your life depends on it. But for those unfortunates wishing to broaden their knowledge of the finer intricacies that emerged in classical music sometime after the American civil war but before the Third Reich, then my friend, you have yourself a big tit of a problem. I have listened to opera before (on occasion) and I have seen a whole four-hour-long performance of Aida by Verdi. Despite the fact that it may have been necessary for me to close my eyes and half go to sleep during the third act, I remember that it was very exciting. I didn't really know what it was about though ----- it was in Italian. Sub-titles flew across the top of the stage, at break neck speed, on a big sign, but that did not help much. The costumes were made of silk, lace and sequins. The gestures were large and dramatic, and the themes were woeful and tragic; but then of course they were - it was an opera. Back to the subject in hand, the opera that I just listened to was called Wozzeck. It’s by Alban Berg. Wiki's general consensus is that it is about being impoverished, although closer sources inform me that it is about a man who hates a women so much that he kills her. As such this opera is ever the barrel of laughs that I expected it to be. I wonder if she was killed because she didn’t sing soprano?