[Met Performance] CID:260600
Wozzeck {24} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/23/1980.

(Debut: Christopher Byars
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 23, 1980


WOZZECK {24}
Berg-Berg

Wozzeck.................Josť Van Dam
Marie...................Anja Silja
Captain.................Ragnar Ulfung
Drum Major..............Richard Cassilly
Doctor..................Dieter Weller
Andres..................Jon Garrison
Margret.................Isola Jones
Apprentice..............James Courtney
Apprentice..............Russell Christopher
Fool....................Andrea Velis
Soldier.................Emil Filip
Townsman................Robert Kelly
Child...................Christopher Byars [Debut]

Conductor...............James Levine

Director................David Alden
Designer................Caspar Neher
Lighting designer.......Gil Wechsler


Performed without intermission.

Wozzeck received eight performances this season.

Review of Robert Jacobson in Opera News


One of the memorable events of the season turned out to be the revival of "Wozzeck" (Feb. 23), newly directed by David Alden in the classic Caspar Neher settings, completely and brilliantly lighted by Gil Wechsler. Plateaux of light found the characters moving in and out of focus in an almost cinematographic style, leaving haunting images, and in the crowd scenes of the beer garden and tavern, magical front lighting superbly recaptured Expressionist theater at its most striking. Alden moved his people with fidelity to text and score, the overall impact intensely stirring. The decision to play the fifteen scenes of the three acts without intermission proved inspired, as we experienced the cumulative effect of Wozzeck's chase through madness to destruction. Levine's handling of the score spoke of commitment to dramatic values while keeping Berg's instrumentation clearly plotted yet highly romantic.

In the title role, Jose Van Dam's body carriage conveyed defeat and desperation at every turn and reaction, almost as if rigor mortis had begun to set in, the man helplessly buffeted by the winds of the world. He provided a mesmerizing character study, together with powerful, large-scaled singing. Anja Silja has never supplied vocal allure, her soprano not being one of coloration or tonal quality, but she acted Marie to the hilt, projecting the woman so thoroughly that she seemed beyond acting itself. Ragnar Ulfung's mad Captain, Dieter Weller's rasping Doctor, Richard Cassilly's heroic Drum Major, Andrea Velis' touching Fool, Jon Garrison's lively Andres and Isola Jones' sultry Margret filled out the cast.



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