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THE 2004 SALZBURG FESTIVAL
By Glenn Loney, August 24, 2004
Caricature of Glenn Loney
by Sam Norkin.
Please click on " * " to skip to each subject in this index:
Finding a New Festival Intendant *
A Remarkable Rosenkavalier: *
On the Brink of the First World War! *
Getting Ready for Mozart Year 2006: *
A New Vision of Così fan tutte Takes the Stage! *
Salzburg Gives Erich Wolfgang Korngold *
A Belated Retrospective: Die tote Stadt! *
Sebastian Nübling's Edward II: *
A Very Long Way Off From Marlowe! *
JEDERMANN Again and Again! *
Gene O'Neill auf Deutsch: *
Eines langen Tages Reise in die Nacht *
MONTBLANC Young Directors Award 2004 *
Preparing for Mozart Jahr 2006 was already a big worry in Salzburg. The University's historic church-auditorium was being re-designed & reconstructed-paid for by American sponsors-as was the Kleines Festspielhaus. The latter-once remodeled on Adolf Hitler's orders-is to become a perfect Mozart-Theater.
But the animated computer-generated visions of this new auditorium, stage, foyers, and exterior looked more like Basic Post-Modernist Architecture. Nothing of the spirit of Mozart or Salzburg in his own time. Inside, it appears to be as blindingly white and plain as the inside of a very large refrigerator.
Mozart could freeze to death in such a space. It's to be hoped his operas will warm it up a bit.
But Salzburg's new Museum of Modern Art-replacing the beloved Café Winckler atop the Mönchsberg-looks just as Post-Modernist Plain. This could prove to be a blessing: its Simplicity doesn't require any apologies.
It is mainly about effective exhibition-spaces, but its opening show was cited more often in the press for its staggering cost than for its artistic merits.
One Salzburg official has admitted the general attitude-now the building is completed and opened-is best said in English: "Well, we just have to make the best of it."
Finding a New Festival Intendant
In addition to the usual State and City hand-wringing about funding the Festival-and the necessity of attracting younger ticket-buyers to the fest-various political and artistic leaders were concerned about choosing a new Intendant for the Festival.
The current-and popular-Artistic Director, Prof. Dr. Peter Ruzicka, is not renewing his contract. Apparently, he wants time to compose a new opera.
Considering the modern operas that have been produced in recent years-one thinks of André Previn's Streetcar Named Desire, among others you never need to see again-composing a new opera is a dubious business at best. But Someone Has To Do It!
Franz Morak, who holds the Austrian State Title of Kunststaatssekretär, has urged the noted young conductor Franz Welser-Most for the post. Welser-Most has often conducted at the Salzburg Festival-not to mention in various Manhattan venues-and he is widely regarded as one of the most important younger talents.
One of the problems about this nomination for decision-making Salzburgers is that some do not like such suggestions coming from Vienna-especially from those who hold the state's subsidy purse-strings-rightly regarding them as outside interference.
Others point out that Welser-Most already has important posts in Cleveland and at the Vienna State Opera.
Salzburg needs an Intendant who can give his full attention to this demanding job. And not delegate his duties to committees or subordinates!
"We need one Chief. And not two or three!" This was the way one Salzburger put the matter.
Nor were recent memories of the often stormy reign of Dr. Gerard Mortier forgotten. He was determined to bring New Music & New Theatre to the Salzburg Festival.
Even if-or especially if-many of the very wealthy and influential Festival regulars preferred not to see or hear some of the more outrageous offerings during his tenure.
Dr. Mortier, however, is a Kultur-Survivor. He has gone from three years at the Ruhr Triennale to become Chief of the Paris Opera!
Although some remember the Era Von Karajan in Salzburg as a kind of Age of Gold, the truth was that the Maestro was very jealous and self-protective. He was especially careful to keep gifted conductors from working with the Festival.
The Festival's able President, Dr. Helga Rabl-Stadler-who is a genius at winning corporate-sponsorship for the fest-emphasized the most important quality of all in seeking a new Intendant:
"We do not need someone who has never run a theatre. We are certainly not a protected Workshop: government subsidies provide only a small part of our budget. We have to develop concepts of how we can interest young people in Salzburg."
Unfortunately, most conductors-though wonderful in the pit-have no idea of how a stage production can be made to work really effectively. And they have even less time or interest for the Business of Running a Theatre: Raising Money, Paying Salaries, Scouting Talent, Contracting Artists, Dealing with Unions, Planning a Repertory Season, Dealing with Politicians, the Public, and the Critics.
Prof. Wolfgang Sawallisch is a great conductor. At the Bavarian State Opera, he was a magnificent GMD, or General Music Director. But, as Intendant, he was out of his depth and Fach...
There are a number of capable candidates for the Salzburg Intendancy. The current chief of Vienna's Burg-Theater, Klaus Bachler, is much admired.
Munich's innovative Intendant, Sir Peter Jonas, has withdrawn his candidacy. This was apparently a result of someone in Vienna giving the press the list of the twelve candidates under consideration.
My favorite candidate-and I do not know who else is on that list- is Prof. Jürgen Flimm, currently Theatre Chief for the Salzburg Festival.
Not only has he demonstrated his ability to run a theatre with his highly praised & excitingly innovative work at Hamburg's Thalia-Theater, but he has also distinguished himself as an opera stage-director with his current RING at Bayreuth!
At the Salzburg Festival, he launched The Young Directors Project and helped win the financial support of Montblanc pens. The Young Directors stagings shown at the Festival have all been co-productions with other theatres-which is most welcome when the budget is being planned.
Even important dramas staged as regular Festival offerings by major talents-under Flimm's tenure as drama chief-have been co-productions. This season's O'Neill, Eines langen Tages Reise in die Nacht, goes to Munich's Residenz-Theater after Salzburg, for example. "Die Reise nach Resi," one could say.
Edward II is a co-production with Theater Basel, as is Chekhov's Die Möwe/The Seagull, with the Schauspielhaus Zürich.
His former theatre-home, the Thalia, is co-producer of a Young Directors' project, Port; as is Munich's Kammerspiele of Fünf Goldringe, and Schauspiel Köln for Heimat, deine Sterne.
Jürgen Flimm could be just the man for this major post. When I asked him about this at the Young Directors Project press-conference-Montblanc finally let me in-he simply smiled and shrugged.
A week after this was written, Austria's leading newspaper and two of its weekly news-magazines printed the pre-news that it was a sure thing Flimm would get the post. This will, however, be posted before a definitive announcement is made.
For the Record: This season a quarter of a million Festival guests were counted. Euro 46 million were spent on mounting 188 separate productions-including readings, lectures, and seminars. The trickle-down effect to hotels, shops, restaurants, and services was projected at 168 million Euro!
Culture is not only Part of Life, Continuing Education, and a Widespread Public Benefit in Austria-as in most of Europe, if not in America-it is also essential to the continuity of the Social Fabric. If only the Man from Crawford understood that!
A Remarkable Rosenkavalier:
On the Brink of the First World War!
Set of 'Der Rosenkavalier' Photo by Hansjörg Michel
If you are fascinated by the idea of Updating Opera Classics, the new Salzburg Festival Rosenkavalier is an absolute Must. Not because it is such a scandalous mistake to zoom this beloved Richard Strauss Masterwork from the mid-18th century into the 20th, but because it works so very well.
Der Rosenkavalier has long been the Parade-Stück of the Vienna State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera, and the Salzburg Festival. Covent Garden and the Met have also had splendid baroque/rococo Rosenkavalier productions in their repertories-if not always out of storage and on stage.
Almost all of the major productions have left Hugo von Hoffmannsthal's Rosenkavalier fable where he and Strauss wanted it set-even though the opera dates from 1911. The only significant differences among various opera-houses has been the degree of lavishness displayed in the luxurious bed-chamber of the Feldmarschallin Marie Therese von Werdenberg and the nouveau-riche Stadt-Palais of the newly ennobled Herr Von Faninal.
This has always worked very well indeed. After the scenic and musical rigors of Wozzeck-or even Götterdämmerung-an enchanted retreat into the heart of 18th century Imperial Vienna can be a really relaxing artistic treat. Rather like Sachertorte mit Schlagobers'-a visually calorie-rich confection, complete with dazzling gowns, splendid uniforms, and gold & silver ormolu interiors.
The opening scene-of two beautiful sopranos sexually romping in an ornate bed-also has its titillations for some opera-lovers. Of course, Opera-Kenners know that one of these actor/singers is actually playing a man: Count Octavian Rofrano, only 17-years-old, but already sexually active.
Their night of love-the Feldmarschall is away hunting in Croatia-comes to a sudden end when a boorish cousin, Baron Ochs, intrudes to ask the Feldmarschallin to provide a suitable Presenter for the Silver Rose which noble families traditionally use when a prestigious engagement is to be formalized. [Actually, Von Hoffmannsthal invented this "tradition," but it plays very well on stage!]
In those productions which are set in a Romantic Viennese Fantasy-Land, Ochs is usually portrayed as an overweight, gouty, frumpy, bewigged, blustering, blundering ill-mannered oaf. He is, in effect, an 18th century Sir John Falstaff-without Falstaff's charm and sense of humor.
Falstaff wants only to have a blissful rendezvous with Mistress Ford. He is not after her money. Ochs, however, believes his Noble Blood entitles him not only to a lovely young girl as his wife-fresh out of the convent-but also to all her extremely rich father's houses, lands, and monies.
Ochs gets a come-uppance far worse than being dumped with dirty-laundry into the River Avon. His pretensions are exposed; all his hopes are lost; he is humiliated before both servants and his betters, and he is effectively expelled from Good Society.
This is all very funny when it is safely encased in the18th century. Der Rosenkavalier is a bumptious Period Farce, framed by two charming Love Stories. One of which is coming to a sweetly sad end; the other, just beginning.
But the essence of the human stories in Von Hoffmannsthal's libretto is not of a bygone period: it is rather more universal. He was really writing about his own time, just before World War I, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire was in advanced decay. But no one recognized the Moral and Financial Bankruptcy which would soon destroy it in a devastating war.
In Dramturg Ian Burton's program-essay, the idea that Der Rosenkavalier is in an over-arching way about Time and its passing and the changes it brings is seminal to the stunning new Salzburg production.
Some audience-members were not happy to find one of their favorite operas removed from Alt-Wien and moved forward to 1911, or just before the First World War. But stage-director Robert Carsen and his design-team have made the move brilliantly.
Although 1911-or even 1914-is almost a century ago, Der Rosenkavalier, set in this period, looks almost modern. What is more, the unfolding of the stories of Octavian and his two loves-as well as the foiling of Och's offensive plots and schemes-have a contemporary resonance they can never achieve when under glass in Old Vienna.
These are real people you can understand-even if you would never be invited to the Marschallin's splendid Palais. Or to Faninal's immense State Dining-Room. And you might think twice about paying a visit to the Third Act Inn, in its new outfitting.
Set & costume-designer Peter Pabst has imagined a new vision of Der Rosenkavalier which is absolutely astonishing. This is a fantastic production you must see next summer in Salzburg.
Because it is obviously so monumental and so costly, the artistic management surely will have to bring it back and back. It requires, however, so many costumed performers on stage that every time it is performed it is surely costing the Festival much more than is taken in at the box-office. Even though Salzburg Festival opera-tickets are now the most expensive in the world.
When the curtain rises in the Grosses Festspielhaus-on one of the widest stages in the world-the Marschallin and Octavian are in a vast bed in an immense bed-chamber. The walls seem to rise endlessly into the flies: they could be almost three stories high.
The design-effect is more Wiener-Werkstätte Jugendstil than left-over Rococo. The walls are a rich deep red-rather sexual. The Marschallin's chamber is liberally furnished with chairs and upholstered benches. Pieces of her and Octavian's clothing are strewn about.
Their love-making is secure, as the chamber's great doors are guarded outside by silent footmen.
Just to make sure the audience understands the Marschallin's position in Viennese Society, Pabst has flanked this immense room with four more big chambers, two on each side, each set of doors guarded silently. These rooms are of unequal size, providing an interesting off-center thrust. What's more the rooms at each end of the stage extend into the wings, beyond the sight-lines of some of the audience. Talk about Extravagance!
The great bed-backed by a modern-baroque frame-is the center of action as the melancholy Marschallin suggests to Octavian that their affair will sooner or later come to an end. Adrienne Pieczonka and Angelika Kirschschlager are wonderful in these roles: Pieczonka is almost heart-breaking in her meditation on the Passage of Time.
I must admit that the German & English supertitles were immensely helpful in increasing my understanding of the subtleties-and the world-weary wisdom-of Von Hoffmannsthal's libretto. Of course, I've seen Der Rosenkavalier many times and know the details of the plot fairly well. But I certainly don't know the libretto by heart, nor can it be completely understood when sung. So, Bravo Supertitles!
Because Ochs and his raffish retinue must reach the bed-chamber through two big ante-rooms-and two sets of footmen-his importunate arrival has even more stage-interest. Similarly, the Marschallin's levée is one of the most impressive in memory.
The animal-seller enters with a brace of elegant hounds and cute little doggies. The fashion-designer has brought a group of elegant models to parade their wares: their lovely gowns and marvelous hats could have come right from the pages of the Gazette de Bon Ton, circa 1912!
When the Opera-Singer arrives-sent by Silva, the Portuguese Ambassador-he is spotlighted in a bright white suit. He stands out from everything around him. Indeed, the Marschallin is downplayed downstage, with her back to the audience, taking in the entire teeming, constantly moving, mutating scene.
As the hair-dresser arranges her hair, the audience's attention is snatched away into the next room where Ochs is wrangling with his lawyer about the settlements he expects from Von Faninal.
With Octavian safely dressed as a new maid, Mariandl, the Marschallin is spared an unfortunate exposure by Ochs. But-even as he is asking her to recommend a Bearer of the Rose-he is trying to touch up Mariandl and is making broad sexual overtures, despite the obvious distress of his noble cousin.
As half the men in Vienna in 1911 were said to be wearing the Kaiser's uniform, Ochs and his men appear in uniform as well. But, instead of a gouty, fat clownish old frump, this Ochs is a fairly manly fellow, with a kind of rough sexuality which could easily appeal to village-maidens and lonely women.
He has obviously had some success in previous conquests. But he has no idea of the proper way to proceed with Sophie and her father.
Franz Hawlata makes him almost sympathetic at times, so his utter humiliation at the close is almost cruel.
Der Rosenkavalier is not Major Barbara, but Sophie's wealth and position are entirely owing to her father's prosperous business as arms & ammunition supplier to the Imperial Armies.
This is of course mentioned in the libretto, but it never has any visual impact in traditional productions. Von Faninal might as well be Imperial Supplier of Carpets & Curtains to the Hofburg.
Fortunately, Miah Persson's attractive Sophie is no Barbara Undershaft. She will be a good match for Octavian-as long as he is interested. But she will never run Bofors or Krupp!
The Second Act visually tops the first. Across the immense stage is the World's Longest Dining-Table. On the stage-right side, it stops short of a huge entry-door. But on the stage-left side, it seems to extend endlessly into the wings.
This long, thin table is apparently set for a formal dinner, in conjunction with the Presentation of the Silver Rose. I counted 80 footmen in uniform, one for each place-setting in view. The settings include fine crystal and silver. Ochs, of course, picks up a silver fork to check the hallmark!
As if the long, long table were not impressive enough as a set-prop, behind it an artist is just putting finishing touches on an immense Panorama of a Battle-Scene, worthy of some Historic Panoramas on view around Europe. This also stretches into the wings at stage-left.
Munitions-King Von Faninal makes his entrance surrounded by importunate manufacturers with bombs, shrapnel-shells, small-arms, and other weapons of war. Also surging around him are high-ranking Austrian officers, seeking to purchase his wares.
On the eve of World War I, this certainly gives the opera new relevance. The transitory nature of Time and of Love-sweetly sad in the mid-18th century-takes on new meaning on the brink of disaster and death in a war Austria is to lose.
Octavian and the Feldmarschall could be killed in France. The Marschallin will surely be stripped of her titles-and probably her palace and possessions as well. [Ex-Empress Zita was exiled, never permitted to return. She finally came back to Vienna only in her casket!]
What Sophie's father is involved in is a Very Serious Business. His concern over finding some kind of nobleman to marry her-to secure his own place among the aristocracy-seems almost pathetic, considering his power and position in economic terms.
But then, we know what lies ahead: he does not. Franz Grundheber is excellent in this role: a Forceful Industrialist, rather than a quavering 18th century fop.
Into this scene of arms-dealing, Octavian rides a great white Lippizzaner stallion the length of the stage to deliver the Silver Rose. Never has a Rose glittered so much: it could have been sprinkled with Swarovski Crystal droplets.
For the presentation, uniformed soldiers enter behind the long table. In two ranks, they must have numbered nearly a hundred. Battalion-strength, if not Regimental...
Usually, after the lavish rococo settings of Acts One and Two, the rough country inn is a scenic let-down, with only the themes in the score and threads in the plot to relate it to earlier scenic venues.
Not so in this amazing production! Peter Pabst has the Act Three curtain rise on a stage-filling bordello-corridor. There are six numbered doors, with scantily-clad and even bare-breasted prossies waiting for customers among the uniformed officers and enlisted-men thronging the passageway.
Octavian arrives with the Italian intriguers to choose a room for his unmasking of Baron Ochs. The innkeeper is now a cross-dressed whorehouse madam in a slinky silver gown-almost 1920s!
The entire corridor-wall rises into the flies to reveal the frames of the five rooms of Act One. But they are now dirty and dowdy, a series of rooms for sexual traffic.
Indeed, in each of the rooms, various forms of sexual activity are graphically portrayed. With a very rapid turnover of male customers, both civilian and in uniform!
If you have ever longed to see attractive nude women on stage, this is your show! If you wonder what they did before condoms, you can watch a number of vaginal and anal douches, with the ladies squatting over large white ceramic wash-basins.
Copyright: Hansjörg Michel
This may not be what you immediately think of when you hear strains of the Rosenkavalier Waltz, but if you know the plays of Arthur Schnitzler-about the Vienna of this period-you will understand all this very well.
As Octavian is setting up the room for Ochs, he chooses his Mariandl disguise from various clothing-items offered by the prostitutes. A naked man wanders in, looking for his watch. Equal Time for Nudes!
Instead of spooks, Ochs sees tableaux of live nude women in various explicit poses in the two-way mirrors of the chamber. Something for the men in the audience?
The only awkward note in this whorehouse setting is the entrance of the flock of children supposedly fathered by Ochs. It suggests that Kinderporn may be a sideline in this House of Ill-Fame... Something for all tastes?
When Octavian and Sophie are finally united on the great central bed-blessed by the departing Marschallin and deeply in love-the walls of all five rooms slowly rise out of sight into the flies. Considering their height and weight, this is quite a technical feat.
It also seems a direct steal from Richard Wagner's Die Walküre, when the walls of Hundings's Hut disappear to let the lovers Siegmund and Sieglinde wander out into a vision of Eternal Spring.
Good enough for Wagner and the Walsungs: good enough for Strauss and Sophie!
Semyon Bychkov conducted the Vienna Philharmonic with real verve. He did not make the opera sound Russian or Slavic as one critic suggested.
Getting Ready for Mozart Year 2006:
A New Vision of Così fan tutte Takes the Stage!
"Cosi fan tutte": Samir Pirgu, Nicola Ulivieri, Tamar Iveri, Elina Garanca, Helen Donath. Photo by Bernd Uhlig
Ursel & Karl-Ernst Herrmann have at last understood very well what Philippe Arlaud discovered this season at Bayreuth with his Tristan staging: That you do not need fantastic sets, marvelous costumes, or memorable stage-props to make an opera come alive-if you have remarkable actor/singers!
Herrmann stagings are customarily notable for their striking scenery, delicious costumes, and unusual props. And their joint stage-direction is often precious or unnecessarily busy.
For their new Salzburg Così fan tutte staging, however, they have been largely content to focus on their six principal actor/singers and let them unfold the plot in song and recitative, wonderfully inter-acting throughout the opera.
Ursel Herrmann Got the Message while watching music-rehearsals with the singers in studio. The two sets of young lovers-and their older un-doers-were so effective, so fascinating, merely singing to and with each other, inter-acting all the while that she realized this Così production would not need a lot of stage-direction to animate it, nor impressive settings and costumes to help the singers hold the audience's attention.
It would be quite enough-for once-to trust Mozart's music and Da Ponte's libretto. This should have been obvious since the opera's first performance, but the key in this formula is having talented performers. When this is not the case, directors and designers in desperation often fill the stage with visual padding and extraneous action to distract audience attention from the performers' weaknesses.
Fortunately for Salzburg and the Herrmanns, the new cast is outstanding. It's to be hoped they can be retained for the next two seasons, for Salzburg's Mozart 2006 celebrations will feature all of his operas, Singspiels, and even incidental music for dramas. This means over 20 Mozart works will be performed, and this Così surely must not be missing from the repertoire.
Tamar Iveri and Elina Garanca are wonderfully matched-complementary and contrasting-as the two sisters, Fiordiligi and Dorabella. Their respective swains, Guglielmo and Ferrando, are also a study in contrasts, and they are excitingly embodied in Nicola Ulivieri and Saimir Pirgu-who comes from Albania. As the two young men are shortly to disguise themselves as phony Albanian Lovers-read Turks!-this could be almost type-casting!
Not only are all four of the lovers young, attractive, and sexy, but they are also gifted singers and talented actors. At the top of their form-and so young! As they gain even more experience, they will surely become major singers in major roles in major opera-houses. They are already well on their way.
They are also handsomely complemented by the Don Alfonso of Sir Thomas Allen and the Despina of Helen Donath-another talent from Texas! The Herrmanns decided to have Despina be played as a more mature, experienced woman, rather than a pert maid the same age as her mistresses. This isn't entirely supported by Da Ponte's libretto, but Donath made it work very amusingly in performance.
One bit of Women's Rights Post-Modernist directorial innovation did not work-or was not pushed through to its obvious conclusion. The Herrmanns decided that both girls would overhear Don Alfonso's plot, so they would know what the boys were up to.
This is, of course, in no way supported by Da Ponte's text and certainly not by Mozart's music. When the boys-as Albanians-are trying to win the girls over, their music underlines their fake sincerity.
The intense emotional conflicts through which the girls must go-before they give in-are not undermined by either text or music which suggests it's all in jest, a kind of love-parody for the boys.
Philippe Jordan conducted as though he were one of the cast: such sensitivity to the changing moods of score and characters. And such obvious enjoyment of what the singers and the Vienna Philharmonic were doing together. There was even a comically costumed harpsichord-player on stage for the recitatives.
Jordan is young yet, but already his career is in major swing. He might outdo his conductor-father, Armin Jordan, at this rate.
As this Così was designed for the immensely wide stage of the Grosses Festspielhaus, Karl-Ernst Herrmann-who created both the acting-milieu and the costumes-had a real problem in Restraint , if he and his wife were to focus on the singers, rather than on their surroundings.
He has succeeded very well, so much so that the visual isolation of a singer-or duos, trios, and quartets of singers-really does center attention on the characters and the emotions they are experiencing.
Of course, because the stage is so wide and the proscenium-opening so high, the stage-space cannot always be a vast void-with only a singer or two here and there.
So Herrmannn has placed a large egg-shaped stone upstage between Stage-Left and Center-Stage. This serves as a dressing-room/hiding-place for the girls and even as a podium for Despina. A movable four-panel screen is deployed on the opposite side of the wide, wide stage, not only for balance, but also to conceal the bogus Albanian and effect other actions.
The slanting stage has an upper lip, behind which the chorus can stand, showing their masked faces spotlit. Herrmann has dressed the men in fantastic long, long-tailed formal coats, with the women in dark, dark red gowns.
Black fans are basic props for everyone: Chorus and Principals. The masquers look like charming, stylish fugitives from Don Giovanni!
The costumes are quasi-contemporary, with Don Alfonso and Despina suggesting another era. But Fiordiligi and Dorabella often appear in pert school-girl attire. The young men are initially seen in fencing suits. As Albanian, they enter in turbans and outsized padded coats-double-bed duvets-with long black skirts underneath.
Initially, the acting-space looks like a long, long rectangular Black Box. But it can suddenly turn into a dazzling White Box. Some Signature Props used in other Herrmann stagings also appear: notably the black or white umbrella on a very long staff.
The vast stage is backed by a seemingly seamless cyc or back-cloth. At one point, a green, green forest begins to appear at the upper edge of the stage. Just bushes at first, but soon they are tops of trees, growing ever upward.
Later, in a sad moment of discovery, this is replaced by the black/brown skeletons of a forest. With the return of the boys from war, the cloth shows a long stretch of sea rising in the air.
This effect-of the growing forest-was also used in the Herrmann's Salzburg production of Rameau's Les Boréades-which even traveled to BAM in Brooklyn. Their celebrated La finta Giardiniera production was also seen at BAM-with its major-effect of an entire forest of Italian birch-trees suddenly tilting sideways!
One detail needs attention: at the curtain-call, the performers were tripping over the discarded clothes of the Albanians and the long, long roll of the bogus wedding-contact. This looked both awkward and unnecessary...
The wide, wide black proscenium opening was flanked by an immense goose-feather and another egg-shaped stone, both tied to overhead ropes. One rose as the other descended, centered on a balance-scale: a Metaphoric Gleichgewicht.
I know I have seen this Herrmann device before, but I'm not certain which of their productions it might have graced. Could it have been Karl-
Ernst Herrmann's Salzburg Festival staging of Botho Strauss's drama, Das Gleichgewicht?
Salzburg Gives Erich Wolfgang Korngold
A Belated Retrospective: Die tote Stadt!
When Intendant Peter Ruzicka began his tenure as Artistic Director of the Salzburg Festival, one of his special projects was to be reviving works by Austrian composers whose works had been banned by the Nazis.
Some, like Erich Wolfgang Korngold, were fortunate enough to flee and make new lives and careers in America. Others died in Nazi Death Mills-but works survive, even some composed in the Concentration Camps.
Unfortunately, either not enough forgotten Festival-quality concert & Music-Theatre works were discovered in planning this project, or there was simply not enough audience-interest to program more of them.
Korngold's Die tote Stadt is not exactly forgotten or unknown, however. It was a tremendous European success when it was composed, but it languished after Korngold went to Hollywood.
He was saved by his friend and Vienna colleague, Max Reinhardt, who was making a film-version of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, with Mickey Rooney and Jimmy Cagney, among others. He asked Korngold to adapt Felix Mendelssohn's celebrated score for the movie.
Korngold effectively created a new kind of Movie-Music: symphonic scores to establish mood and locale, to suggest character-qualities, to accompany the action, and to highlight plot events.
Wagner must have been an elemental influence with his famed Leitmotifs. But Korngold had also learned lessons from Richard Strauss. In fact, there are a lot of Straussian swirls in Die tote Stadt. Schoenberg's twelve-tone vision was not for him.
This is what made him a kind of musical pariah in Europe after World War II. Not just composing film-scores, but also rejecting New Movements in Music. But the truth is his time had passed.
Only in the past few decades has his work began to attract attention again. The New York City Opera mounted a memorable staging of Die tote Stadt over 20 years ago. Its use of projections and film-clips-before there was video, and long before directors boasted of Multi-Media productions-was revolutionary at the time.
The production's haunting filmic glimpses of the Medieval Flemish City of Bruges wonderfully evoked the haunted dreams of the opera's protagonist, the bereaved and inconsolable Paul
Now, at the Salzburg Festival, a new vision has been created for Die tote Stadt. It doesn't need projections or video-clips-which more often are devices to save on production-costs.
As this is a co-production with the Netherlands Opera and Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu, nothing has been spared to make this a dream-fantasy no spectator will soon forget. It's to be hoped some major American opera companies will want to borrow this production-and its outstanding cast as well!
Instead of videos, set & costume designer Wolfgang Gussmann has created fantastic three-dimensional phantasms and sexually haunted dreams. He has a chorus in black top-hats & tails, an idea he likes so well he repeats it in white for a kind of 1920s Pierrot/Columbine vision-with even a visual quote of Marlene Dietrich in that famous top-hat & tails outfit.
The essence of the fable is that Paul's beautiful wife, Marie, has died untimely. He is absolutely beyond consolation.
He has shut himself off from his one friend, Frank, in his gloomy old Bruges mansion. Only his old-maid house-keeper is allowed to speak to him.
The room where Marie died Paul has made into a shrine. He sits for hours staring at her portrait. And he cherishes, even worships, a lock of her golden hair.
Designer Gussmann has elaborated on these basics. Although the libretto suggests it is a full-length portrait of Marie, instead Paul is focused on a huge canvas with only the head of a Symbolist lovely, painted by Ferdinand Knopff.
This Marie-image is replicated in smaller versions scattered around the vast chamber, including some which are only an eye or a lip.
During a dream-sequence, revelers mock this haunting face with graffiti. At one point, the image is reversed to reveal a mirror. Reversed again, Marie is now a skull!
When cropped to the center of the face, the image looks like a Velazquez Infanta. Near the close, upstage, beyond the permeable wall of the room, a number of these images appear.
Instead of merely a lock of Marie's hair, Gussmann has given Paul her entire head of golden hair. He keeps it in a glass-case, like a Holy Relic.
This has special historical and mystical resonance with Bruges. Some commentators have insisted that Bruges itself is not the Dead City: it is only dead for Paul, now Marie is no more. But there is much more to it than that.
Belgian Symbolist novelist Georges Rodenbach-on whose Bruges-la-Mort the Korngold's libretto is based-knew what he was doing in choosing this mildewed, rotting old medieval city for the venue of his strange tale.
For hundreds of years, Bruges has been famous for one thing-well, two, if you count lace-making: It is the only city in Christendom which actually possesses a Holy Vial of Jesus Christ's Holy Blood, shed on the Cross. Not even the Vatican has such good blood-stocks!
Once a year, this Holy Blood is said to liquefy. It is carried in solemn procession through the cobbled streets of Bruges. I've been there, but you don't get close enough to see if it's really liquid. No more than you can touch the Shroud of Turin or Christ's Holy Seamless Robe in Trier.
If this kind of ritualized superstition-the adoration of some blood-flecks in a crystal vial-can arouse the piety and religious fervor of thousands of Catholics, why shouldn't Paul have his own Holy Relic.
To make this point-and the Bruges-Connection quite clear-in a Nightmare Dream-Sequence of the Procession of the Holy Blood, Gussmann has the Boy-Bishop, dressed completely in white, carrying the glass case containing Marie's hair!
There are also two appearances of religious fanatics bearing a white cross. Is it Paul on the Cross the first time? The second time, his stand-in for Marie is put on the Cross.
The opera opens with Paul deciding to open his home-and Marie's Sacred Shrine-for the first time. His friend is puzzled: What has happened to cause this abrupt change?
Paul has just seen Marietta in the street. She looks exactly like Marie. Actually, she is a sexually-liberated dancer with a troupe from Lille, performing Robert le Diable. This is also resonant, as in this neglected work, a woman rises from the dead to seduce Robert. Read: Paul?
He invites her to his house. She is intrigued, and she hopes he's rich. But when she realizes he's trapped in this Death Obsession and wants her to become Marie for him, she takes pity on him. But she has no intention of losing her own identity-and her career-to bring a dead woman back to life.
In Rodenbach's novel, Marietta obliges with some play-acting, but Paul is finally so enraged at her taunts and dismissal of the dead woman that he strangles her.
In Korngold's opera, however, this is all an extended nightmare, with the fantastic dream-sequences echoing Paul's repressed desires and fears. When the dream fades, Marietta returns for the umbrella she forgot a short while ago when she called at the mansion. The horrific dreams never happened...
Paul decides to get hold of himself, forget the past, and leave Bruges for a new life elsewhere. As if he could discard all that baggage that easily!
If Paul had waited until a few years ago-actually, he'd be long dead by now-he'd have seen Bruges wonderfully restored as Culture City of Europe. Even the Church of the Holy Blood looks like it has just come out the box from Disney World! [Marietta's neighboring Lille is the Culture City this year!]
When Paul's dreams begin, the back wall of Marie's chamber becomes transparent. Behind it is a duplicate of the chamber, but smaller. A duplicate Paul and a dream Marie are sitting in the two chairs also seen downstage.
The floor of the real chamber skews upward at one side. The ornamental plaster ceiling skews crazily and continues to move slowly in the air. Some dream-fantasies are performed on the smaller upper-stage. Some, like the Procession, are set between the two stages.
As this opera was the rage of le tout Vienne in the early 1920's, it would be interesting to know what Dr. Sigmund Freud thought about it. He-or most of his patients-would surely have seen it.
Paul is really something of a prude. One of the reasons he worships the dead Marie so inconsolably was her chastity and virtue. Obviously, this marriage was never consummated.
Paul may well have been afraid of sex, and Marie died of disappointment and despair? They should both have seen Dr. Freud! But then Bruges is a long way off from Vienna, and the Good Doctor didn't make house-calls.
Torsten Kerl and Angela Denoke were brilliant as Paul and Marietta, both as singers and as actors. Bo Skovhus was good as Frank, with Daniela Denschlag admirable as the repressed, faithful maid, Brigitta.
Donald Runnicles conducted as though this were the best of Strauss, the last gasp of musical Romanticism.
Sebastian Nübling's Edward II:
A Very Long Way Off From Marlowe!
Steven Scharf, Silvia Fenz, photo by sebastian hoppe
One thing is certain: William Shakespeare did not write Christopher Marlowe's Edward II! Less certain is the authorship of Richard II-who had a Sexual Identity Problem similar to Edward's and came to a similar Dead End, but not so horribly.
To confirmed Marlovians, Richard II looks very much like Edward II, revisited by an older, more mature playwright who was not William Shakespeare.
These authorial problems do not bother stage-director Sebastian Nübling in the least. Nor do textual problems, either. Although Marlowe's original play has five acts-and the adaptation Nübling is using has only two parts-his production of Edward II plays without an intermission. This is said to prevent the powerful tension being built up from being vitiated by a pause.
This, however, did not prevent some spectators from noisily clattering out of the Hallein Salt-Drying Hall now used for the Salzburg Festival's avant-avant-garde drama productions. But there were fewer defections than from a riotous Belgian Richard III several seasons ago. That epic left the stage strewn with shattered props, and an audience with the phrase "Modderfugger King Richard" ringing in their ears.
Sebastian Nübling is no foe of strong language on stage. But he loves even more strong physical interaction. His style has even been called Body-Theatre. Working with Theater Basel and his own production-team-sets & costumes by Muriel Gerstner-he has assembled an extremely well-drilled team of loud-voiced and athletic actors as well.
Olivia Grigoli-as Edward's neglected Queen Isabella-is the only woman in the ensemble. But even she has to be able to jump over-or climb up-the six-foot walls which enclose the raised stage-platform.
These three walls have a shallow walking-space for pronouncements and threats from above. At the close of the drama, they pull back to focus attention more sharply on the center-stage horrors of Edward's murder.
For those who do not know the text-or who have never seen a production-of Marlowe's Die unruhige Regierungszeit und der jammervolle Tod Königs Edward II. von England: und der tragische Sturz des stolzen Mortimer, sowie Leben und Tod des Pierce Gaveston, des berühmsten Grafen von Cornwall und mächtigen Günstlings Königs Edward II-to use the German title-may be surprised to learn that there once was an English King who loved his boyhood chum, Piers Gaveston, more than his lawfully wedded queen.
In Nübling's staging, the audience is spared nothing in the exploration of Edward's sexual infatuation with Gaveston. Bruno Cathomas and Dino Scandariato perform with abandon and a great deal of grappling. Daniel Wahl plays Edward's weak & inverted brother, Kent, who appears at one point in little white wings, bustier, jock-strap, and white silk-stockings to celebrate one of his brother's excesses.
As Edward must beget a son and heir-otherwise there'd be no Edward III, to seize the crown, kill Mortimer and put his skull on his father's coffin, and put his mother-queen in the Tower-the King and Queen publicly copulate in every position on a center-stage platform, watched eagerly by the Peers. Just in case you wondered whether Edward could do it with a woman...
The bulk of Nübling's cast-a just term, considering their various physiques-is composed of Peers of the Realm. There are 40 of them, plus their ultimate leader, Mortimer, strongly played by Steven Scharf, a towering, handsome, well-built Leading Man, if ever there was one.
Costuming the Peers must have been easy. They all wear dark blue slacks, white shirts, and red ties: Essentially, Suits without the Jackets! King Edward likes to jerk off some of these ties when the Peers are on the ramparts above him.
They seem to spend most of the evening jumping down from above, or vaulting up the walls. No place here for actors not working out in Health Clubs. This is a very rough & tumble production. When Gaveston is murdered, they show no pity.
But as soon as he is gone, the young seducer Hugh Spencer appears. Actually, there are two of him-in yellow sweatsuits. With his dual childs' bodies, his strip-teasing of the smitten King come close to Kinderporn.
Both of him get what's coming to them. As does Richard, Mortimer, and Queen Isabella.
But before that grisly conclusion, there is a lot of horrific bellowing and ranting by the principals and the peers. The lines-some of which are certainly suggested by Marlowe, though the text and scenes are more "inspired by" than copied-are seldom delivered at less than raucous top-volume.
The rants of Adolf Hitler-as recorded in Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will-seem more like reasonable explanations of State Policy than the rages of the peers and the princes in this production.
Rising against Edward, the peers strip off their shirts to show their fierce determination to uncrown him. They also show off some good pecs and rips.
Edward defeats them, leaving the stage strewn with dead men.
They rise again, however, and Edward is doomed.
Olivia Grigolli and Steven Scharf. Photo by Sebastian Hoppe
During this downstage drama, high above, behind the stage-structures, in a rectangular light-box, three Clowns are pushing along against the weathers of the Four Seasons.
Just beneath them, a zipper-sign is showing the Latin text-which they repeat: EDWARDUM OCCIDERE NOLITE TIMERE BONUM EST. This is also repeated through the printed program.
At the close, the Clowns descend and turn out to be the King's murderers, suborned by Mortimer. They seem to be Father, Mother, and Boy-child, although the latter is played by a chattering actress. He/she is endlessly masturbating what appears to be a rubber hose.
Later, to win him/her to the Regicidal Task at hand, Mortimer even masturbates him/her for some time. But with no visible-or play-acting-Orgasm.
The sad King's end is a messy business indeed. Edward is struggling to climb out of a shit-pit-he's visibly covered with it-as the Father-Clown keeps shoving him back in and putting the lid on.
Finally, the Littlest Clown enters with an orange warning-light on a handle-the kind used to divert traffic-which he/she mimes shoving up Edward's anus.
In fact, Edward's vengeful killers did shove a metal funnel up his anus and insert red-hot pokers. And so he died...
This Marlovian scene-as acted at the Aldwych Theatre some years ago by the Royal Shakespeare Company-was used in The Ipcress File. Michael Caine and a colleague are sitting in the balcony watching a presumed woman spy, who is also watching this scene.
She suddenly flees the auditorium as Edward takes the pokers up the ass. Whereupon Caine says: "Well, it's really more of a man's play."
If the Brooklyn Academy of Music needs a real shocker for its next New Wave Season, perhaps it should talk to Theater Basel and Sebastian Nübling!
'Jedermann' Again and Again
Jens Harzer, Elisabeth Schwarz, Elisabeth Rath, Peter Simonischek. Photo by Clärchen & Matthias Baus
The focal production of the original Salzburg Festival was Max Reinhardt's staging of Jedermann before the façade of the great baroque Cathedral. The text-by Hugo von Hoffmannsthal, also a festival-founder-was based on the Medieval English Morality Play, Everyman.
With his Austrian Catholic background, Von Hoffmannsthal made some theological improvements on the English original. But it's debatable whether the Great Moral Lessons of this episodic verse-drama have any meaning for modern audiences, even in Austria, which is nominally Catholic.
Certainly, Reinhardt-as a Jew-could hardly have been concerned about teaching Festival Guests their Catechism on summer vacation. As with Reinhardt's splendid production of The Miracle-Manhattan's Century Theatre was turned into a cathedral for this touring Wonder-Show-he understood very well the theatrical and spiritual powers of Roman Catholic legends and rituals.
Max Reinhardt never bothered to turn the Life of Martin Luther-or of Calvin, Knox, or Zwingli-into stage-fare. Catholic liturgy had splendor and majesty to spare. Also, the music that accompanied it was far more theatrical than Luther's Cradle-Hymn!
After World War II, when the Salzburg Festival resumed, Reinhardt's widow, the noted actress Helene Thimig, revived his original production from his famed Jedermann Prompt-Book-in which every detail was laid down in drawings and writing.
I was able to interview Frau Reinhardt when she was still staging the production. When the direction passed to Reinhardt's son, Gottfried, I also talked to him about the historical precedents and the possibilities for new visions.
Viewing Christian Stückl's newest of Jedermann productions for the third time in its third season, I think I almost prefer the simpler formulaic ritual performance laid down by Max Reinhardt.
Stückl-whom I also interviewed in 2000 in Oberammergau, when he gave its famed Passion Play a New Look-is a young and very creative director. He certainly lifted the Oberammergau Crucifixion Drama out of its decadal doldrums-it is performed only every ten years! And he did not have to resort to Mel Gibson horror-scourgings to do so.
But, in his always interesting efforts to give new life and meaning to the Salzburg Jedermann, Stückl has peopled the stage with an army of performers and made what was once very simple now rather complex.
His initial conception of introducing the drama with a children's version in the old Volks-Theater style has improved each season. And the kids' brass band is terrific.
His vision of God as a ragged old Jewish Rabbi has been somewhat modified: He no longer gives kiddies candies. But His hands are still bandaged with the Stigmata-a symbol of Christ's Crucifixion, not God's. Or is this a Middle European Catholic conflation of Christ as God? After all, Stückl was born in Oberammergau!
In a Festival interview, the Jedermann, Peter Simonischek, questioned whether much of the theology in the drama is any longer relevant, even to modern Catholics. He did note, however, that he had spent nine years in a Roman Catholic Internat, or Boarding-School-and the effects of its religious teachings were still with him.
In Von Hoffmannsthal's religio-dramatic formulation, Mankind is not saved by Good Works alone. Glaube, or Faith, is the Decisive Factor. God seems to agree with this idea in the current production!
Stückl's Jedermann has become perhaps too visually complicated. There are, at times, too many people on stage, each doing his own thing, so that focus is lost. You don't know where to look next.
Fewer performers-with fewer props and less fantastic costumes-in a simpler staging might increase the power of the Moral Fable. But then again, it wouldn't be such a stage-filling, flame-belching Panoramic Show...
Some of Marlene Poley's costumes should be in museum show-cases. They are marvelous adaptations of-or inspirations based upon-18th century court-dress and even some medieval visions.
These include a black-winged, black-hooded Angel of Death and a hoofed Devil who raises his tail to shit on the stage. Or puts it between his legs to mime potency. This kind of crude bawdry was the Comic Relief of the Medieval Theatre.
Incidentally, in a current interview, Stückl asserted that he was a directorial specialist in things Catholic. As a Native Bavarian-and a temporarily adopted Salzburger-he is certainly working in the right part of Europe.
As I write this-in my tiny room in one of Salzburg University's student-dorms, a summer hotel for tourists-I am alternately staring at the Powerbook's screen and at the Crucifix on the wall in front of me. These are fixtures in all classrooms, as well. Crucifixes, not Powerbooks...
Gene O'Neill auf Deutsch:
Eines langen Tages Reise in die Nacht
Considering the numbers of German tourists in New York, San Francisco, and Florida-not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of American films Germans and Austrians have seen since the end of the Second World War-it is amazing how unfamiliar a modern American classic drama usually looks when produced on German, Swiss, or Austrian stages.
Cornelia Froboess in "Eines langen Tages Reise in die Nacht" photo by Thomas Dashuber
Frank Castorf's Volksbühne staging of Tennesee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire-also shown at the Salzburg Festival several seasons ago-was so visually bizarre it looked like an Anti-American Theatre-Action. You can find my report on it in the New York Theatre-Wire Archives if you want to know all the gory details...
The German title of this great drama is Endstation Sehnsucht, which literally means that Desire is the last stop on this streetcar-line. Cemetery, you may remember, is at the other end of the line: a real-life Metaphoric Juxtaposition!
Apparently, the Williams Estate got wind of what Castorf had done to this classic, so he was forced to change the name of his gaudy, sexy show to Endstation Amerika. Can you imagine Blanche in bed, not only with Stanley, but also with Stella and the neighbors?
Salzburg's new Long Days Journey Into Night-a co-production with Munich's Residenz-Theater-is hardly as bizarre as Castorf's Endstation.
But, if you have ever seen a definitive production in New York or London, you would not recognize the play or the people on stage in Salzburg's Neo-Baroque Fellner-und-Helmer Landestheater.
Instead of setting the drama in its historical context-it is, after all, about the American playwright Eugene O'Neill and his self-tormented family-director Elmar Goerden decided to set the scene in what appears to be a late 1950s Family Room, with a great white-curtained window serving as a wall from up center-stage to downstage left.
This is nice, although we never get to see what's outside the window. Its purpose as a set-device is, however, unclear. The light is almost too bright for the O'Neill/Tyrone Cottage in Waterford, CT, shrouded in fog and cold.
Goerden and his designers-Silvio Merlo and Ulf Stengl-have taken note of the fog-image, for a projector keeps flashing glints of wind-swept waters into the interior.
Unfortunately for the Tyrone Family, Long Island Sound seems to have seeped into the Family Room as well. Over what ordinarily is the forestage and orchestra-pit, a shallow cover supports a sheet of water.
Mary Tyrone skips through it and even dashes some drops from it on her plants. Edmund Tyrone-O'Neill's alter-ego-stomps around in it in his cowboy boots. He seems to have a James Dean Complex. When he is not coughing up his lungs, he is endlessly smoking.
The sheet of water is obviously intended to mirror the stage-action in reverse. This shows up very well in production-photographs. But it is almost impossible to see from most orchestra-seats, as the stage is very high, and the seats are not steeply raked.
Only those in the boxes and the cheap-seats in the balcony get the full effect. Nonetheless, it is a visual gimmick which does nothing for the powers of the play.
Actually, it is difficult to believe this is an American-let alone a shabby New England-interior. All the furnishings are 1950s-1960s German Horrible.
The Tyrones even have a TV in the Family Room! If Edmund/Gene had watched it enough, he could have found a mail-order cure for TB and got a job with NBC, writing scripts for Live Dramas on the Box!
Mary Tyrone is played by Cornelia Froboess, a leading actress at the Residenz. Can she be the same Connie Froboess who was a teen-star when I was teaching in Germany years ago? Or perhaps her daughter?
She would be very good in this role-her quieter moments are moving-but she, like the rest of the cast, cannot refrain from bursting into violent shouting, even ranting, when strong emotions are indicated.
This is fairly standard play-acting on German stages-subtlety is not the strong suit of many actors-and it is almost a Hallmark of Performing the German Classics and Shakespeare.
Soft, subtle, insinuating, under-played scenes are a rarity. But audiences in Mittel-Europa seem to respond strongly to the alternation of rant and ordinary conversation on stage. The outbursts let you know the character is angry or upset. Also, that he or she is Really Acting!
There's also the distinct possibility that Germans are so used to hearing their language shouted, bellowed, or ranted by politicians-as well as by actors-that this sounds like a natural form of expression, rather than a prep for a Nazi Party Rally in Nuremberg.
To Alien Ears-even if they understand German-it's also possible that violent German outbursts do sound more rant-like than the same words in the same situations in an American setting. And then, there's always that Nuremburg Triumph of the Will Echo in one's memory...
Vadim Glowna was James Tyrone, with Jens Harzer as Edmund and Rainer Bock as his older brother, Jamie. Cathleen, the Tyron's maid, was played by Franziska Rieck, who was so fine in the Residenz's recent Der jüngste Tag.
At least this production was not Endstation O'Neill!
MONTBLANC Young Directors Award 2004
The Montblanc Pen People have been enthusiastic supporters of Festival Drama Director Jürgen Flimm's Young Directors Project in Salzburg.
The first winner of the Montblanc Award in 2000, Igor Bauersima, was recently invited to the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan, where his play, Norwegen Heute, was read in translation
Possibly this summer's winner, Alex Rigola, might also come to New York? His staging of Santa Joana dels Escorxadors won the specially-designed Montblanc Max Reinhardt Pen! He also won a check for Euro 10,000...
Better-known to Americans-if at all-as Saint Joan of the Stockyards, with a Chicago Slaughter-House milieu, this novelty was a co-production with the Salzburg Festival and Rigola's home-stage, Teatre Lliure of Barcelona. It was performed in Catalan-the Cataluñan way of showing Independence from Spain-with German supertitles.
Judges included Festival President Dr. Helga Rabl-Stadler, Thaddaeus Ropac, and the distinguished actor, Peter Simonischek, who read the citation. He is Salzburg's current Jedermann.
Martin Kusej succeeds Flimm as Chief of Theatre for the Salzburg Festival. He also inherits the Young Directors Project, which should prove a real challenge as he formerly attacked the entire idea.
He now explains that he was opposed to inviting unformed young talents to experiment at Salzburg, when they could do that at their home-theatres.
The Salzburg Festival, he noted, should only offer the best of theatre, including avant-garde experiments. This makes very good sense, as no one wants to pay those prices of amateur work.
Although I had been able to talk to Igor Bauersima at the AD 2000 press-conference, I was initially turned away from this one. Although I had the Official Festival Press Accreditation, I was told entrance was only by Special Invitation!
So next time I pass the Montblanc shop on the corner of Madison and 57th Street, I will think twice about buying the Max Reinhardt Pen-which requires real ink to function! And is by no means inexpensive...
Copyright Glenn Loney, 2004. No re-publication or broadcast use without proper credit of authorship. Suggested credit line: "Glenn Loney, New York Theatre Wire." Reproduction rights please contact: email@example.com.
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