Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Günter Papendell in Calixto Bieto's Gianni Schicchi

Günter Papendell as Achille (left) and
We wouldn't normally think of pairing sexy German barihunk Günter Papendell with provocative director Calixto Bieto in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, but neither would we think of pairing the Puccini comedy with Bartok's bleak Bluebeard's Castle. Leave it to the Komische Oper in Berlin and Bieto to do just that.

Papendell, who've we've seen in various states of undress at the Komische, will play the role of the Schicchi.

The two operatic masterpieces both premiered in 1918, the same year that the Germans surrendered and ended WWI. The works could hardly be more different, and yet they are combined to form an operatic double bill - black Italian comedy meets Hungarian psycho-drama.

The Komische website states, "Little would appear to link Gianni Schicchi and Bluebeard’s Castle - except for their unadorned depiction of the human abyss. That master of melody Giacomo Puccini spices up his story of the family arguing about their inheritance at the deathbed of the patriarch with tearjerkers such as "O mio babbino caro". Béla Bartók penetrates into the depths in the complex landscape of the soul with his dense score. A grim mystery is hidden behind the seven forbidden doors in Count Bluebeard's Castle, and exposing this mystery will prove the downfall of one young woman."
Bluebeard's Castle and Gianni Schicchi at the Komische Oper
Gidon Saks will sing the role of Bluebeard in the Bartok opera. The operas are being performed without intermission, running approximately 2 1/2 hours. Performances run from March 1 through July 8.

This season Papendell can also be seen at the Komische as Don Giovanni, Escamillo, Achille in Handel's Giulio Cesare and Odysseus. In May, Gidon Saks heads across town to portray Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at the Deutsche Oper.

1 comment:

  1. Pairing these two operas not a first.The LA Opera did it in 2004, Nagano conducting, and staged by film director William Friedkin. Samuel Ramey did double-duty in both title roles, with Denyce Graves as Judith, followed by a Schicchi cast that also included Roslaind Elias, Rolando Villazon (hilarious) and Danielle deNiese. It worked. The spoken prologue of Bluebeard and spoken epilogue provided a touch of symmetry, both being delivered in English.