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Thread: Bizarre Production of Schumann's Genoveva from Zurich on DVD

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    Default Bizarre Production of Schumann's Genoveva from Zurich on DVD

    Lately, I been watching some interesting rarely performed operas from Netflix .
    So far , I've seen Handel's Tamerlano , Glinka's A Life For The Tsar , Prokofiev's
    Betrothal In A Monastary, Pizzetti's Assassinio Nella Cattedrale ,
    Rachmaninov's The Miserly Knight , Rimsky-Korsakov's Sadko , and most recently,
    Schumann's only opera , Genoveva .
    I recommend all of these highly , although the production of Genoveva from the Zurich opera
    several years ago is pretty weird . Schumann's music is wonderful , and the opera certainly
    deserves to be better known . If youre not familiar with Genoveva , and not too many people
    are, it takes place in medieval Germany when the Moors of Spain invaded Europe and
    were stopped by the forces of Charles Martel , "the hammer of God ".
    Count Siegfried ,master of a castle , goes off to war to fight the Moors , but must leave his beautiful
    young wife , the countess Genoveva behind with his servants , especially his trusted Golo , who is
    secretly in love with Genoveva but dares not reveal it . Golo would rather have gone off to fight with
    the count .
    While the count is away , he makes a brazen pass at Genoveva , but she rejects him. He vows revenge
    and accuses her of adultery with another one of the count's men , who is instantly put to death .
    Genoveva is sentenced to die while her husband is away , and is taken away to a remote spot for
    execution . But Siegfried is informed of her innocence at the last minute and arrives just in time to
    stop her execution, and all ends happily .
    The Zurich production , directed by Martin Kusej , features a unit set and the characters wear
    the clothing of Schumann's time, which is the least of the problems .
    The set is basically a blank white with a modern sink ! The characters frequently jump on top of it
    for no apparent reason . At times , fake blood appears on the white wall as well as coming out of the
    sink . Many of the people in the castle, servants, chorus etc and other characters have what looks
    like soot on their faces .
    Characters remain stage doing nothing even though they are supposed to be far away at the time,
    especially count Siegfried , who is supposed to be off fighting the Moors .
    In one scene where the sorcress Margaret , who is in on the plot to frame the hapless Genoveva
    for adultery conjures up strange visions , and there is supposed to be an offstage chorus of spirits .
    But they are right in front of the audience, and are dressed as doctors performing surgery ,
    complete with masks . Even weirder, they shake dead fish around and throw them on the floor !
    For what reason ? Genoveva is among them and nude with her back to the audience .
    This production would have given poor old Robert heart failure if he could have seen it !
    But that's Eurotrash opera for you .
    The cast is excellent , with Juliane Banse in the title role , and Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    does an admirable job conducting . But what did he think of the production ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by superhorn View Post
    The set is basically a blank white with a modern sink ! The characters frequently jump on top of it
    for no apparent reason .
    Kusej just likes characters randomly interacting with sinks. He's directing ROH's Idomeneo this November. If there's no sink in it I'm going to demand a refund. The bit with the fish cracked me up so I'm going to check it out. It's on youtube in small pieces. Btw, most Zurich productions are wacky. I'm crossing my fingers for Nessie in Idomeneo. It's only topical!

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    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Kusej usually finds a pretext to have the singers running around in their underwear in his productions. I'm a litle surprised he was able to resist the temptation with Genoveva. Having the nude heroine with her back to the audience seems rather tame for him.

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    The soprano Juliane Banse, who sings the title role, does have a very cute bottom , though .

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