RIENZI: Der Letzte der Tribunen
Cecco del Vecchio
If I should name one of the best productions from this season, it must be this: RIENZI. And I specifically use that word 'production' instead of 'opera' or 'play' purposely. Because it's the stage and the concept of the production that caught my attention. On the production notes, the concept of the production said to take a lot of inspiration from the 'mass psychology' from the people in *ehem* North Korea. Yes, Kim Jong-Il for the win!
For those unfamiliar with the opera, Rienze's plot strongly circles on the title role, as we watch the rise and fall of a dictatorship post-war. Hint: it's Hitler's favorite opera of all time. Sudden change of mood,eh?
Anyway, first thing: the singing. Well, a few excellent arias were delivered by our 'Adriano' Daniela Sindram and of course 'Rienzi' Torsten Kerl. Loudest applause for both that night!! Cheers!
I know, there are no famous arias in this play, well, it's also because it's not on that A-list of 'operas-well-and-most-played'. But listening to the songs of power and dignity of the emperor, people on the crossing of politics, etc. is always interesting right? Warning: explosive political content and reminds you a lot of Germany post WW-I. Well, at least the production made us to.
To the execution: WOW. It's amazing, During the first part of the opera, the stage changed from Rienzi's office to the city in war imagery to the bright beginning of Rienzi's government. The second part begins with the telling losing people on war, sparks of the revolution and last Rienzi's fall due to people's revolution and fightback - captured and took him out of his bunker and shot him.
Near the end of the first part, the marching scene of the people are quite grandios! With the use of giant screen, picturing Rienzi while giving speech, the scene is just an absolute picture of dictatorship on its glorious moments.
The second part especially, is a very interesting time for the staging. The stage was divided into upper stage (the city and the people) and the lower stage (Rienzi's bunker/hideout). The background of the city is a monitor, so yes, it used a lot of visual and video tech.
During the last part, the whole choir and cast would freeze while Adriano and Irene singing their love arias with Adriano pursuing to take Irene away to safe place, and she refused to leave his brother, Rienzi and finally also get killed in the revolution. The stop-motion on the upper stage is just amazing!
Very interesting ride, the thrill, the tense! Perfect opera for beginners and curious ones!