Special Envoy to Amsterdam.
It is a clever show that German director and filmmaker Philipp Stölzl offers at the end of the season of the Amsterdam Opera. The idea? Transform the fairytale opera Rusalka, by Dvorak, into a fable about the impossibility of escaping from the universe to which one is assigned.
Rusalka is no longer an aquatic creature but a young girl growing up in the American underworld of the 1930s against a backdrop of drugs and prostitution, and dreamed of by Hollywood movie posters. The great love with the star of the film against a backdrop of glamorous scenery will only be an illusion.
Often humorous, the transposition is more skilfully decorative than psychologically profound, and if the show is entertaining, it struggles to upset, relying a little too much on a virtuosity of images that will have at least enthused the audience.
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Perhaps we would have been more convinced if the singing had been memorable. Now, if soprano Johanni van Oostrum phrases beautifully...
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