More coherent thoughts on Sellars’ and Currentzis’ Salzburg Tito
Spending a couple of hours on a flight with an impressive number of rambunctious children under 10 offers a good opportunity to sit through this unnecessary bloated production. At several moments I wanted to skip the extraneous music but faced with the joy of the child next to me playing with the tray I went back to Sellars et all 😉
Well, hohum. Quite the letdown. It’s got enough visual chutzpah to give an initial impression of thought out but there doesn’t seem to be any coherence at all due to the lack of strong relationships. The drama is pushed back behind the chutzpah and the endless choir action. I would under no circumstances show this to a Tito novice. But I think Tito veterans should see it for many reasons, none of which, sadly, have to do with the story of Tito – except in the general Tito context. It’s unusual but it’s not illuminating, unless you really wanted to know more about the MusicAeterna choir.
Let me start with what I liked:
- whatever is going on during the overture. It’s enegetic and interesting, it hits you and it feels refreshing that you don’t quite know what’s going on.
- I liked the idea behind the choreography on Non piu di fiori. The development was thin.
- Servilia and Sesto have a lovely sisterly relationship the likes of which you’ve never seen in a Tito production.
- the black/white/ethnic thing. It’s unusual (though not for Sellars) and it says something. An interesting conversation could be had regarding what exactly it does say. I am not entirely sure.
What I didn’t get:
- the development was thin in general. I never got the important relationships, aside from Annio and Servilia, who look like a real couple and the nice revelation of Servilia and Sesto.
- who is Sesto, really? What is his motivation, really? It’s never explained and you need that – there can’t be Tito without it laid out clearly. If any of you get it, please enlighten me. I am stumped. She looks like a student who hangs out with people of a radical bent, though the same people seem to really like Tito. She doesn’t look like a proper fanatic, especially when she starts feeling really remorseful. Again, if you saw something I didn’t, please argue your point. I would love to see more meaning that I could so far.
- Vitellia! She reminds me of the one we know but, again, her relationship with Tito and, especially, Sesto, is unclear to me. The upshot is I loved Schultz’s musically. She needs a proper Tito production, I hope she gets to sing in one somewhere we (I) can see.
- Tito dying lessens the drama and the message. In fact
- the lack of proper relationships dilutes the message to the point where it’s hard to care about what is going on.
- The MusicAeterna choir and their neverending closeups: yea, they’re good but I don’t see why Tito has to be used as a vehicle to push their agenda to the point where it’s more MusicAeterna choir than Tito.
I am still undecided on Currentzis yet. Some good stuff, some overdone, meddlesome. Whover advocated the extra music needs to be spanked with a wooden paddle (unless they particularly like it).
Grand Tito again at Salzburg 2017?
Just a few months ago I was predicting the future Tito would be seen in a smaller, cosier space. Wrong! The new production of Tito returns to Felsenreitschule with a cast that doesn’t look Mozart-based. I am somewhat puzzled/surprised rather than miffed I was wrong – or ahead of times (as I like to think).
Currentzis, obviously looking to make his way through the entire Mozart catalog, brings his musicAesterna choir and orchestra crew to support the following:
Tito: Russell Thomas (this could be interesting)
Vitellia: Golda Schultz
Sesto: Marianne Crebassa (should we expect cape tossing? I’m all for that)
Annio: Jeanine de Bique (a soprano Annio)
Servilia: Christina Gansch
Publio: Willard White (really? Isn’t he a bit too estalished for Publio? Good for us!)
You will notice that everyone save for Sesto and Servilia is black. That in itself can take Tito in a different direction than usual. So probably no cape tossing.