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Haas - Morgen Und Abend at ROH


Geoff
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Anyone been to this (and indeed the Insight evening)? We have been amusing ourselves finding online comment, here are just a few:-

 

http://seenandheard-international.com/2015/11/haass-morgen-und-abend-is-a-new-existential-opera-exploring-life-and-death/

 

https://bachtrack.com/review-morgen-und-abend-haas-royal-opera-london-november-2015

 

https://operabritanniauk.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/haas-morgen-und-abend-royal-opera-house-november-13th-2015/

 

http://www.musicomh.com/classical/reviews-classical/morgen-und-abend-royal-opera-house-london

 

http://classical-iconoclast.blogspot.nl/2015/11/invisible-theatre-made-visible-morgen.html?m=1

 

An exceptionally interesting collection of comments, certainly more fun to read than another piece of typing about another Traviata (although a great Traviata can be a wonderful thing - my friends who were at the unexpected Ekaterina Bakanova debut in July said that was one such night)

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A friend of mine went and she said it reminded her of the Beatles song "she said, I know what it's like to be dead" !

 

I saw it on Tuesday, and the next morning I found the words "I'm dead and I don't know it" going round my head to the tune of "I'm sexy and I know it"...

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I was there on the first night, between a long and tiring day beforehand and the news afterwards I'm not entirely sure what happened, but I think I liked it and will probably see it again before it leaves.

I was a little surprised by the prologue, seeing on the production page a mix of dialogue in English and sung in German, I expected they would be mixed throughout rather than have the first third a spoken monologue with musical accompaniment. As to the music I was occasionally reminded of some post-rock and noise bands which are not interested so much in tunes as in weaving sonic blankets so to speak (I'm sure some orchestral composers did it as well, but I'm not as familiar with them), as it happens it's something I tend to love so I was quite happy but it won't please everyone, and while it's not as abrasive as Harrison Birtwistle for instance it's still light on tunes you can whistle or hum afterwards.

I don't have much to say about the libretto, but based on what I'd heard about Jon Fosse previously it was still a lot more accessible than what I expected.

Regarding the production, I found the spareness fitting with the themes and the music, and I suspect the surtitles were projected at the back just to allow one effect at the end which I found rather moving so even if that wasn't the goal at least it allowed that.

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I found the lack of punctuation in the projected titles really irritating, but I imagine that was intentional to add to the general effect of weird dreaminess.  I must confess I tired quickly of the "prologue" and wished somebody would start singing.  I thought the production served the piece very well, though.

 

Dramatic inertia is one of my least favourite things in opera, though (among other things it's why I don't like Philip Glass!) - I'm glad I went to the Haas, and thought they did a good job of it, but the piece isn't one I would rush out to hear again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm utterly smitten by Morgen und Abend, from the monologue at the beginning to the last quiet moment on stage.

 

The sporadic monologue allowed me to really listen to the music whilst setting up the elegiac atmosphere perfectly. Having seen a fair share of Scandinavian film as a teenager, the quietness and slowness of the story as like an oasis of calm for me. I didn't quite expect it to turn into an emotional tour de force, but the sadness and grief over his wife's death really got to me.

 

The singing was outstanding, and I really hope the same cast could return for a revival in the very near future.

 

Morgen und Abend is on R3 next Saturday for anyone curious about the soundscape created by Haas.

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