A man walks into a bar. But that bar is the Staatsoperette Dresden and the man is actually La Grande Duchesse de Gerlostein. You’ll have to wait for the punch line because it’s operetta and you know it’s coming anyway. Th king of operetta Offenbach’s La Grand Duchesse in a German translation, Die Grossherzogin von Gerolstein, played last night to a young Dresden crowd.
This was Terry Gilliam lite, although the grotesque was shelved for absurdity as layers of military aggression/progression collected like a demented World War fetishist’s feverish dreams -- a military bomber, a rocket launcher, a jeep -- all inept and inert. A lively cast and spirited chorus moved along three hours in a heartbeat, and what struck OC was the irreverence, which has dwindled from the Italian opera scene over the last 3-4 years of economic crisis, which has stunted cultural and artistic outlets. Aside from the obvious ramifications of culling seasons, downgrading star power and
borrowing old productions, it's simply not prudent to take big risks and gambles and opera theaters have generally been declawed. The ballsy young Dresden Staatsoperette was pure, fresh opera-for-the people -- not opera for the backers, donors and sponsors.
Before the operetta nightcap, OC spent the day in Leipzig preparing for its early summer Bachfest by taking in a performance of Bach and Penderecki at Thomana Leipzig for its last Festmusiken performance.
More on that later as OC prepares for another full day of cobblestones, Elbe winds, light snow and, of course, unbashful Riesling-soaked meals before we run off to the Semperoper for the opening night of Lohengrin with Robert Dean Smith as the swan knight, Soile Isokoski as Elsa and Thielemann on the podium.