Last night, OC was in Piermarini's elegant cream & gold-leaf den for its final dress anteprima of Lohengrin that officially opens the Teatro alla Scala 2012-13 season on December 7, the feast day of Milan's patron saint, Saint Ambrose. The past few years, Scala's been test driving its la prima for the Scala Under30 club with a 10$ cover charge, and last night the house was packed full of fresh-faced Wagner virgins.
OC was invited by la Scala to live-tweet Claus Guth's new production of Wagner's son of Parisfal, and her chipped Chanel Pêche Nacrée can attest to rapid-fire 140s fired-off for six hours straight. *cracks knuckles, racks-up hashtags and asperands* In case you missed it, you can relive its full glory on OC's stream, Teatro alla Scala's stream, along with in-house twitterers Massimo Bernardini and Matteo Bordone.
Guth's action unfolded in the Victorian era, with a barefoot Jonas Kaufmann as a short-tempered, confused, agitated youth scattering swan feathers around a puffy-chest Rene Pape gleaming with gold buttons against Barenboim's delicate cycle, gentle spin Wagner. And Kaufmann in frac. *Bond. Lohengrin Bond.*
In today's Corriere, Guth spoke to Giuseppina Manin about his new production, based on Wagner's inspiration of Grimms' Fairy Tales. He cast Elsa as a woman with wide-ranging emotional disorders, the payload from losing her parents and her little brother at a young age, which triggers a whole boatload of incestuous issues around her knight-in-shining-incest, Lohengrin.
For Lohengrin, a "hero without identity", Guth drew on the 19th century case of a mysterious teenage boy, Kaspar Hauser, who appeared in the streets of Nurbenberg and claimed that he had been raised in total isolation during the years that Wagner wrote the opera. Hauser was fatally stabbed five years later and rumors arose that he was the hereditary prince of Baden, switched at birth.
Guth concluded: "They were turbulent years, in 1848, Europe ignited a thousand revolts, Marx and Engels wrote the Manifesto of the Communist Party and this was only a couple months after Wagner had deployed to Dresden at the side of the anarchist Bakunin. The industrialism and capitalism of today was born then. It's a crucial moment in history that gave rise, a reaction, the desire to return to the past, a legendary world and irrationality. Lohenrin's a romantic opera born in a time that lived many realists. But behind the curtains of the story comes the disturbed ghosts of a present threat."
December 7th's opening night Lohengrin will be streamed live on Rai5 and Radio3, starting at 4:50 (the opera starts at 5:00pm). On tv, it will be on Rai HD, chanel 501.