Thursday, June 26, 2014

Richard Rittelmanm mixes sexy and scary as Punch

Richard Rittelmann (left photo © Armin Bardel) as Punch and out of makeup (right)
Barihunk Richard Rittelmann just took on the role of Punch opposite the Judy of Manuela Leonhartsberger in Harrison Birdwhistle's "Punch & Judy" at the Neue Oper Wien. The opera was a huge hit with the public and the critics. The performances marked the 80th birthday of the composer.

The Neue Oper Wien production will be performed again on October 14th at the Armel Opera Festival in Hungary and broadcast on "ARTE live-web." We will provide additional information closer to the performance date.

Richard Rittelmann (photo © Armin Bardel)
Harrison Birtwistle and his librettist Stephen Pruslin created a stylized tragedy full of grotesque moments, the music of which is just as capable of portraying a monstrous being as it is of portraying love. Their work opens up a positively other-worldly realm, full of fairground illusions and insane twists.

To this day, the opera has retained its polarizing effect. Just a few minutes into the action, Punch brutally murders his own child and Judy—and as the plot progresses, he ends up killing almost everyone else he encounters. Only Pretty Polly, whom he practically worships, is allowed by him to live. But eventually, Punch is overcome by horrible nightmares and the music begins to change in character.

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