Saturday, 19 May 2007

Paris: Makropoulos Case with Angela Denoke and King Kong

Makropolous Case. Bastille Opera, Paris. Premiere, April 27th, 2007. Production: Krysztof Warlikowski. Cast: Angela Denoke (Emilia Marty). Conductor: Thomas Hanus. Further information here.

In young Polish director Krysztof Warlikowski´s new production of the Makropoulos Case at the Bastille Opera, the undying Emilia Marty takes the shape of Marilyn Monroe as well as of several other iconic movie stars, who live on "eternally". According to Warlikowski he is mainly interested in the specific immortality associated with femininity and these movie icons.

It is a very well-thought out and intelligently executed production, centered around a movie theater showing movie-clips with iconic divas from the 20s and 30s on a background screen. When Emilia Marty/Marilyn Monroe/Lana Turner etc.. finally dies, a new Marilyn Monroe /Lana Turner etc. is ready to take over. A King Kong figure (shown above) plays a central part in the opera, and at 12 meters he/it is the largest-ever theater requisite built for the Bastille opera. Why other parts of the opera take place in a public toilet, seem less obvious.

The detailed exploration of Emilia Marty´s character and the realistic dialogue in the opera are trademarks of Janacek and one of his major strengths as an operatic composer, also cornerstones in works such as Jenufa and Katya Kabanova.

Angela Denoke
was very convincing as Emilia Marty, one of her best roles and deservedly received massive applause. Thomas Hanus (unknown to me) created a glittering, dense sound world, greatly contributing to this excellent evening.

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