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'Wozzeck' by Alban Berg, at Theater an der Wien

Wednesday, 19 May 2010 , ora 9.37
For music lovers, the most interesting moment of the Festival 'Wiener Festwochen' in 2010 seems to be the celebration of composer Alban Berg, a brilliant student of Arnold Schönberg and one of the representatives of the 'Wien School' composition in the first quarter of the 20th century. There are 125 years since the birth of Alban Berg and in the same time, 75 years since the musician's death.

In the theatre which some time ago hosted the premiere of the work 'Fidelio' by Beethoven, situated near the river Wien and named for this reason 'Theater an der Wien', was restaged the work 'Wozzeck'. Written between 1916 and 1922, the first atonal work from the history of music is impregnated by trauma of the first world war and the grey disintegrating world, many artists identified then with the Viennese society.

It is interesting how the story of the soldier Wozzeck, extremely somber, is actual today not as much by the theme of the war, as by the lack of orientation of the simple man, caught as in a cobweb between the rigidity of the system he lives in and the obtuseness of the more powerful than him. The disorientation and his soul crisis are felt by many of our contemporary, but seldom is painted on the stage or in a film with the sensitive, percussive and dramatic work of Alban Berg. The soldier Wozzeck is humiliated by his superiors, underpaid, his rebellion is not taken into account, but diagnosed contemptuously by the doctor as insanity. Deceived in love and without any moral support, Wozzeck kills his lover, and in the end he kills himself. There is no light in this drama, only disorientation and discouragement. The extreme gestures awake fear, and the character and his story, with a disarming simplicity, touches and condemns in the same time.

The new setting of the work 'Wozzeck', in tarnished colours and with settings condensed to the maximum, relied especially on the power of suggestion of the orchestra and on the dramatic tension of situations. The direction was signed by Stéphane Braunschweig, a stage man with experience and, starting this year, the director of the theatre 'La Colline' in Paris. The complicated orchestral body was directed by the British Daniel Harding and the tenor Georg Nigl (Austria) in the role of Wozzeck completed an excellent team of musical theatre.

Haiganuș Preda-Schimek
Translated by Zenovia Popa, Andreea Velicu
MA students, MTTLC, Bucharest University