Wozzeck: Who Knew?

Friday, April 08, 2011 - 01:36 PM

Who knew that Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck would be, hands down, the best all-around performance this year at the Met? (Fred Plotkin, maybe – he posted about it earlier this week on our blog WQX-Aria.)  But I was totally unprepared to be blown away – by the singing, acting, staging, orchestral colors… the total package. The evening began with cheers for James Levine’s appearance in the pit at the beginning of the opera, and ended with a standing ovation. A real one.

No, you won’t walk out humming anything from the score (although the 66th Street subway station saxophonist did go to the trouble of transcribing a bit of it to serenade the “after opera” crowd). But musically, it’s not nearly as scary as you think. Not scary at all, in fact. Unlike some composers who seem to go on and on and on, in Wozzeck, Berg says what needs to be said, and moves on. 

This Wozzeck is a transforming theatrical experience. It’s clear why James Levine, when he was limiting his schedule this spring, chose to keep Wozzeck. There are just three performances left this season. Don’t miss it.


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Comments [3]

Frank Feldman

Ms. Lewin,
BTW, I love it when you do that acting/announcer thing where you form your mouth muscles into the shape of a big smile and then speak. Some might consider it self-conscious and insincere, but to me it rings true.

Apr. 26 2011 05:27 PM
Sean Hickey

I agree with Frank entirely. Couple that with the fact that, other that Nixon in China, Wozzeck constitutes the Met's annual commitment to "new music". Laughable since the opera is most certainly a classic.

Apr. 14 2011 10:48 PM
Frank Feldman

Perhaps the fact that it's, along with Elektra, the greatest and most powerful opera of the twentieth century might have something to do with it.

Apr. 13 2011 06:52 PM

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