Monday, February 23, 2015

A triple-century treat at Stuttgart Opera

Visiting Stuttgart to sample the city's innovative approach to opera over three consecutive nights coincided with what could be, for a first-timer, an explorative crash course in the history of the art form. Night one (17th February) started with Czech composer Leoš Janáček's dawn of the 20th century, unsettling, psycho-dramatic opera, Jenůfa. On night two (18th february) it was Nabucco, Giuseppe Verdi's mid-19th century work which firmly established him as a composer. Finally, on the third night (19th February), Niccolò Jommelli's Il Vologeso completed this trio, a work not seen for almost 250 years by a now almost forgotten composer of more than 80 operas and whose works chronologically bridge Handel and Mozart. Reviews for the three operas appear in the following three posts.

Opera repertoire aside, a common thread in this triple-century feast, at the very least, is that Stuttgart Opera's innovative credentials were starkly evident and all three works, updated with everyday contemporary costumes (almost a one batch fits all approach), made laudable attempts at modern day relevance.

Stuttgart Opera House
Interior ceiling detail

The experience was enhanced by the warm, opulent surrounds and appealing intimacy of the 1400-seat neoclassical-styled opera theatre, the unique silver glint which looms over in its detail and the ceiling's stunning azure zodiacal circular inset around which 14 chandeliers arc. Designed by the architect Max Littmann and opened in 1912, it is one of Germany's few remaining opera houses not destroyed in World War II. A love of architecture and opera was here on offer.

Photos: @OperaChaser

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