Friday, 1 February 2008

DVD: Superb Moses and Aron from Vienna

Moses and Aron. Vienna State Opera 2006. Production: Reto Nickler. Cast: Franz Grundheber (Moses), Thomas Moser (Aron). Conductor: Daniele Gatti. Further information here.

This is the first DVD version of Schönberg´s Moses and Aron, recorded at the Vienna State Opera in 2006.
Reto Nickler was brought in as a last-minute substitute for Willy Decker, at a point where the set decorations had already been made, and succeeds in communicating the basic conflict of the opera: The "pure faith" (represented by Moses´ sprechgesang) vs. the essential "communication" to convince the people (represented by Aron´s placid tenor lines).

A cylinder makes up the center of the otherwise bare stage encompassing a.o. the "magic staff "and the "blood-red Nile" via computerized projections. The letters I-C-H (transl: "me") makes up the center of the production dancing around the golden calf, together with video projections of various seemingly unrelated events, such as the Vienna Opera Ball...

Superbly acted and sung performances as both Moses by Franz Grundheber, and Thomas Moser in the tremendously difficult part as Aron. Clear and precisely conducted by Daniele Gatti. I find it difficult to imagine a better performance of this work.

And as an addition, there is a 45 minute interview with the protagonists, including Franz Grundheber reading from the third act, which Schönberg never put to music, in which Moses finally triumphs over Aron , as opposed to the opera´s ending, where Moses is the the loser.


The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):

Franz Grundheber: 5
Thomas Moser: 5

Reto Nickler´s production: 5

Daniele Gatti: 5

Overall impression: 5

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