Opera

        Nabucco                                    Giasone                               Salome                            Clivia                          Salome

Grand Théâtre de Genève        Vereinigte Bühnen Frankfurt        Deutsche Oper Berlin        Staatstheater Mainz        Staatstheater Mainz

                  2014                                               2007                                        2003                                     2003                                  2001

Nabucco

Grand Théâtre de Genève, 2014

 

Return to PRODUCTIONS

"...Director Roland Aeschlimann (in collaboration with Andrea K. Schlehwein), who also designed the costumes (together with Andrea Schmidt-Futterer) and set, did not – understandably – overburden Nabucco's already dense plot with psychology; nor did he deconstruct it, or add another invented story to it (the wondrous conversion of Nebuchadnezzar in this production happens just as abruptly as in Temistocle Solera's libretto). Only in the final act does the director allow himself to intervene with commentary, when the newly-converted Fenena, the weakest member in the cruel game of power, tears herself out of Ismael's embrace and rams a knife into her stomach. He seems to say: religious convictions cannot be changed as haphazardly as clothing.

 

"Aeschlimann translates the grand score into fitting stage tableaux. This is quite effective, as it allows the impactful music to develop unhindered."

 

     Max Nyffeler

     translated by Hayley Glickfeld Bielman

     Opernwelt

     April 2014

Credits

Direction, Set

Roland Aeschlimann

 

Co-Direction

Andrea K. Schlehwein

 

Costumes

Andra Schmidt-Futterer

 

Musical Direction

John Fiore

 

Chorus Master

Ching-Lien Wu

 

Nabucco

Roman Burdenko / Lucio Gallo

 

Ismaele

Leonardo Capalbo

 

Abigaille

Elzabeth Blanke-Biggs

 

Fenena

Ahlima Mhamdi

 

Photos by

Ariane Arlotti

Giasone

Vereinigte Bühnen Frankfurt, 2007

 

Return to top

 

Return to PRODUCTIONS

"A painful loss confronted this Frankfurt production shortly before rehearsals began: the director Anouk Nicklisch, who had planned to further develop her version of this opera formerly presented in Klagenfurt for Frankfurt, died unexpectedly. However, AKS and set designer Roland Aeschlimann managed to realize the intentions of the director convincingly. … Staging took center stage as the gestures, movements and body postures of the soloists yielded an authentic performance of the original concept. … It was in the truest sense of the word, a marvelous evening of opera-theater."

 

     Gerhard Rohde

     translated by Hayley Glickfeld Bielman

     Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

     23. Januar 2007

Credits

After the staging of

Anouk Nicklisch

 

Staging

Roland Aeschlimann +

Andrea K. Schlehwein

 

Set

Roland Aeschlimann

 

Costumes

Andrea Aeschlimann

 

Musical Direction

Andrea Marcon

 

Photos by

Monika Ritterhaus

Salome

Deutsche Oper Berlin, 2003

 

Return to top

 

Return to PRODUCTIONS

"Brecht pupil Achim Freyer shows Richard Strauss' Salome differently than ever seen before … . Boisterous calls of protest amid audience cheers.

 

"Freyer looks behind the mask of Salome, the femme fatale who beautifully and banally murdered men in literature, paintings and music around the turn of the last century. For him, the Jewish princess is fully a product of today's society: a spoiled, elevated daughter 'at the main threshold of capitalism.' She is allowed to demand and take everything, yet she senses that life could give her more than possessions or power or 

Credits

Staging, Set, Cosutmes

Achim Freyer

 

Assistant Director

Andrea K. Schlehwein

 

Musical Direction

Marc Albrecht

 

Herodes

René Kollo

 

Salome

Susan Anthony

 

Herodias

Ute Walther / Jane Henschel

 

Photos by

Monika Ritterhaus

fantastic ideas. So it is the despairing search for love that siezes hold of her, which Strauss arrayed in glittering orchestra colors. …

 

"The most disturbing aspect of this performance at the Deutsche Oper Berlin … is not so much Freyer's modern conclusive interpretation, which is underlain with moralism, as the imagery in his stage design for this piece that once inspired a theatrical scandal; the civilized horror-world of dishonor and war in colorful media may hardly provoke a weary smile.

 

"… For Freyer the piece is mainly a 'big sex drama,' and just as Princess Salome's embodiment of lust, violence and anarchy here avoids every identification with the usual, elegant theatrical figure, Herodes and the Queen Jochanaan and Narraboth and the quintet of Jews are also shown as absurd, experimental and circus-like. Unsophisticated inhabitants of a trashy opera world. They resemble debauched puppets more than people; in their crudely striped, gaudily accessorized outfits they are closer to precisely formed dilapidation than the appearance of order. ...

 

"Dancing between two fires here seems perpetual: performers fall to the floor, curl into a balls, grimace, contort themselves, gesticulate wildly like a punchinellos. The viewer has something to chew on. During Salome's legendary lascivious dance preceding the decapitation of Jochanaan, Freyer naturally does not emphasize the voyeurism of Herodes's libidinous court, or the audience. Instead it becomes a collective dance exercise followed by communal blood lust with latent carnivalistic madness – half child's play, half dream vision – and sexual satisfaction of the title-heroine turned monster, who lustily defiles herself with blood.

 

"The longing and a universal desire within systematized delusions gives birth to this monstrous, sometimes cumbersome, difficult to approach performance. But Achim Freyer had something else in mind: not only does he want to objectify this Salome as a key to enigmatic femininity, he also treats Strauss's opera as an object. Because of this the all too agitated spectators – in acquiescence to consumption?"

 

     Wolfgang Schreiber

     translated by Hayley Glickfeld Bielman

     Süddeutsche Zeitung

     7. April 2003

Clivia

Staatstheater Mainz, 2003

"The power of love in Boliguay: at the Mainz State Theater Nico Dostal's dusty operetta 'plant' is well fertilized, in bloom, and consequently glorious.

 

"Clivia is blooming at Gutenbergplatz right now, because a female directing quartet approached the dust catcher lovingly, with more than just color and pizzazz. Anouk Nicklisch (director), Andrea K. Schlehwein (movement), Ilka Weiss (set designer) and Heike Seidler (costumes) … . The Mainz act provided outright confirmation of the statement spoken there long before: 'Contrary to Hitler's and Mussolini's view, operetta is productive, sensible, semi-healthy intoxication; collective orgasm even … '

 

"… A debonair scenario between power and art appear on the stage.

 

Credits

Staging

Anouk Nicklisch

 

Movement

Andrea K. Schlehwein

 

Set

Ilka Weiss

 

Costumes

Andrea Aeschlimann

 

Musical Direction

Enrico Delamboye

 

Clivia

Elizabeth Hagedorn

 

Photos by

Martina Pipprich

 

Return to top

 

Return to PRODUCTIONS

"It is fortunate that the Amazonian troupe of skirt-wearing men, parading under the command of Fräulein Lieutenant Jola, presciently distributed Kleenex packets in the audience: this production of Clivia is a most beautiful hankie-fest and the most recent demonstration that sentiment in art behaves toward pure expression like thermometer readings to felt temperature: felt feelings."

 

     Bernhard Uske

     translated by Hayley Glickfeld Bielman

     Frankfurter Rundschau

     20. October 2003

Salome

Staatstheater Mainz, 2001

Credits

Staging

Anouk Nicklisch

 

Movement

Andrea K. Schlehwein

 

Set

Ulrich Schutz

 

Costumes

Andrea Aeschlimann

 

Musical Direction

Stefan Sanderling

 

Herodes

Alexander Spemann

 

Salome

Elizabeth Hagedorn

 

Herodias

Edith Fuhr

 

Photos by

Frank Struck-Schloen

"Princess Salome is not killed, not punished in the end for her sexual pathology – for her raging, deathly lust for the decapitated head of John the Baptist, whose murder the girl forces out of her father in a devilish fancy. He reacts with brutal disgust: 'Kill this woman!' But the soldiers in this production ignore the command, and go even further: they yield in panicked horror before the neurotic woman-child, backing away as if from a blood-smeared ghost who stands in upright opposition like a sacred, proud Johanna. With the last cruel chords of the orchestra, it is not Salome but the curtain that falls over a drama – an 

 

Return to top

 

Return to PRODUCTIONS

aesthetically beautiful nightmare about the perversion of the engulfing power of female love – that excited our ancestors with hair-raising shivers at the end of the last century.

 

"Just as Salome is not actually crushed here, young director Anouk Nicklisch avoids any other correspondence the real story of the Jewish king's monstrous daughter.

 

"Anouk Nicklisch's precisely choreographed staging – movement sequences that consistently isolate the wholly autistic characters in the story – unfolds in a world of at once oppressive and dreamily beautiful sterility. … Her talent lies in exact, well-reasoned, never overburdened chamber pieces that are completely developed from the musical constellations and sequences.

 

"She conceived the scenic character portraits – and also the costumes – so brilliantly that their inner contours are physically realized ... without sliding into caricature. …

 

"This Salome (Elizabeth Hagedorn) is the opposite of her mother Herodias (Edith Fuhr), who wallows in affected pathos. She is far more the product of Herod (Alexander Spemann), who rotundly sprawls in his armchair and articulates his problems with sharp tenor. In her abysmal boredom, the princess is affected only by one (desire) addiction – lust for the man who represents the opposite of all other men in Narraboth, which idolize stupidity and lewdness. Jochanaan (Elmar Andree) is a completely aloof intellectual, and Salome loves his mental counter-power more than the fact that he is of the opposite sex.

 

"This production is one of dramaturgical reflection, with almost consummate stage balance within the finely tuned details and atmosphere, exactness and elan of play, subtlety and irony to counters clichés. All of this is most apparent in the most famous, lascivious 'number' of the through-composed tragedy: Salome's dance. Instead of erotic eurythmy celebrated by waving scarves and veils, it is the cynically calculated strip pantomime of a woman initially dressed as a man, who excruciatingly bares her sex to her father … . Blood red, like that in Salome's 'corselets' which illuminates gaudy enamel, plays a central role in the production. So does the motif of “forbidden glances“ and voyeurism, like the greedy gazes from the supporting roles of five Jews, two soldiers and Nazarenes during Salome's dance. Pandemonium of vicarious satisfaction: acrimony and wit, obscenity and intellectual 'coolness' are balanced.

 

"And the apotheosis, Salome's scandalous kiss on the lips of the severed head? It ends with a surprise: the fetish of masculinity is not a disguise here, but rather the red painted mask of death, which Salome presses onto her own head. That is why her face is smeared with blood.

 

"… This Salome also demonstrates how strong musical theater can be in the so-called German provinces."

 

     Wolfgang Schreiber

     translated by Hayley Glickfeld Bielman

     Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

     15. January 2001