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On the pink front: "The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein" at the Gärtnerplatztheater


Others turn it into a biting, bitter anti-war satire, on Gärtnerplatz "The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein" becomes a pink revue with a guy as monarch. It's entertaining nonetheless.

Others turn it into a biting, bitter anti-war satire, on Gärtnerplatz "The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein" becomes a pink revue with a guy as monarch.

It's entertaining nonetheless.

Olaf Scholz should be enthroned in the middle box, as should Vladimir Putin.

Just as Wilhelm I of Prussia and Tsar Alexander II once thought as fans of this operetta.

That doesn't work at Gärtnerplatz in the premiere, if only because that's where the Kessler twins are sitting.

And perhaps the state leaders would not have felt addressed by the current break that Offenbach is trying to take with a pincer movement of pink fronts.

Others (including Barrie Kosky in Berlin, of course) have already practiced that the title heroine of the “Grand Duchess of Gerolstein” is a guy.

This guarantees a spicy extra dose and extra demand in the Glockenbachviertel, which is only legitimate.

Especially when Juan Carlos Falcón is a singer whose gender you only believe when he opens his mouth (here is our interview).

Whether in a red uniform with high-heeled leather boots or in a bathing suit, the tenor cuts a bella figura.

Instead of drag queen gossip, there's a slightly bobbing stiletto walk and a strand of hair casually brushed away.

You can hear that Falcón has recovered from an indisposition - in the following performances his singing should also increase from 75 to 110 percent.

Host Josef E. Köpplinger demonstrates his core competence again.

Thanks to the well-oiled director's engine, everything runs smoothly, as if the production has been chugging for weeks.

The production at the Dresden Semperoper came out three years ago, after three performances it was because of Corona Sense.

The colleagues may turn the "Grand Duchess" into a biting to bitter anti-war satire, Köpplinger just wants to play.

He does it well and gets every move, every character to the point

(story at the end of the article)



You want it too: The Grand Duchess (Juan Carlos Falcón) takes care of Fritz (Matteo Ivan Rasic).

© Jean Marc Turmes

Again and again a group of tourists scurries through the mini state of Gerolstein (1.8 by 1.7999 kilometers, as explained in the overture video).

A huge picture frame and martial-erotic paintings make everything seem “as if” – Köpplinger seems to be conjuring up something bygone, something that has vanished together with Johannes Leiacker (stage) and the imaginative costume designer Alfred Mayerhofer.

As a maximum penalty, General Bumm (rendered by Alexander Grassauer with a magnificent, intimidating bass-baritone) orders a soldier to wear a tutus.

That sets the tone shortly after the beginning: It will be an evening of bent wrists, of lustful gender play - even if Daniel Prohaska as Prince Paul has to serve gay stereotypes.

Fritz, adored by the Duchess, is allowed to take off (almost) everything for the bubble bath that makes man and woman in the audience reach for binoculars.

The tub scene, including the duckling, turns into pretty point fishing.

As the evening progresses, the staff pets one (the only?) phallic bombshell of the dwarf state.

Happy to raise cartoon alert level pink.

The brisk choreographies by Adam Cooper fit in perfectly.

And sometimes there are misfires.

An orchestra at high speed

The singing is excellent throughout, you only hear the lavishly used tenor by Matteo Ivan Rašić (Fritz) or the soprano glow of Julia Sturzlbaum (Wanda).

Sigrid Hauser thunders the Gerolstein politician Erusine von Nepomukka into the grotesque, making him the only real guy on stage.

Where there is still room for improvement: not everything can be understood.

This is certainly due to the hard German translation, French simply offers the better lubricant for the text.

A little extra diction, or a couple of mics, and that would be the end of it.

Michael Balke keeps the Gärtnerplatzorchester (and the responsive choir!) at high speed.

No matter how quick and responsive the music is, it could also be dirtier, Offenbach wanted – not only – more dirt than juice for this score.

In general, the production misses how much critical mass there is in the "Grand Duchess" and how much militarism is etched.

The political situation at the time of the premiere in 1867 was more delicate and threatening for France than for Germany today.

On the other hand, if you need escapism in the face of the daily "Tagesschau" drone, you're in good hands at Gärtnerplatz - the jubilation at the premiere confirms that. Scholz and Putin would have joined, they weren't meant.

The plot:

The Grand Duchess loves men in uniform.

She falls in love with the soldier Fritz.

But Baron Puck wants Prince Paul as her future husband, but he's too stupid for her.

She demotes General Bumm and promotes Fritz to General.

But he has to go into the field because Boom, Puck and Paul started a war.

Fritz comes back as a hero - and marries Wanda.

The Grand Duchess wants to console herself with Baron Grog.

Fritz is demoted.

General Bumm regains his rank, the Grand Duchess marries stupid Paul.

Source: merkur

All life articles on 2023-01-28

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