Sunday, 5 February 2012

Claus Guth with Messiah

Messiah. DVD. Theater an der Wien 2009. Director: Claus Guth. Cast: Susan Gritton, Cornelia Horak (sop), Bejun Mehta (alto), Richard Croft (t), Florian Boesch (bas). Arnold Schönberg Choir. Jean-Christoph Spinosi conducts Ensemble Matheus.

Claus Guth on Messiah: "What are emotional stages that prompt us to ask ourselves questions about God? Burial, unfaithfulness, abandonment, life crisis."

In his 2009 staging of Händel´s Messiah, these are more and less the life crises he takes us through via the circular stage. Centrally stands the funeral of a man. A businessman. This man, we learn, was cheated on by his wife with his brother?/ his friend? around the time of the baptism of his child, which, together with a failed business presentation leads him on the road to suicide.
Physically, we are inside a hotel/office building with many doors leading to and from places we know nothing us. And, not uncommonly for Claus Guth, he adds a couple of non-singing characters - a business man and an angel?/hotelmaid?, which adds to create an almost trandescending impression.

Claus Guths narrative is compelling, the themes are the eternal: Guilt, fear, rejection, loneliness love.

A genuine ensemble piece, non mentioned, non forgotten. All acted, sang and played with committment. For those interested in a staged version of Messiah, Claus Guths version is not to be missed.

The trumpet shall sound:

Overall impression: 5


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

This is actually the first time I saw a stage version of Messiah.....and I absolutely love it!

Bogda said...

For me this was a complete revalation when I saw it live at Theater an der Wien some years ago. Great staging, fantastic signing (especially from the Arnold Schonberg chorus) and above all heavenly music. Went to see this show because of Guth, but ended up starting to discover Handel and baroque music.

Thomas Mellman said...

Will there ever be another production? I've bought the CD (from Amazon - I wanted to buy it from Theater an der Wien but it got too complicated). I can't see it too much. Now I want to see it live.

Is there an online discussion by the cast, choir, or orchestra about their appreciation or thoughts about the staging?

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