Is there any bet­ter month than May to fill your ears with the fresh and bub­bling mu­sic of his­tory’s most fa­mous Salzburg prodigy? “No, there isn’t,“says Solveig Stein­hardt, as Don Gio­vanni be­gins singing.

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS -

A whole month ded­i­cated to the works of the boy ge­nius of Salzburg, aka Wolf­gang Amadeus Mozart.

In the early 1990s, var­i­ous sci­en­tists around the world ob­served that Mozart’s mu­sic makes ba­bies more in­tel­li­gent, buf­fa­los that lis­ten to Mozart three times a day pro­duce bet­ter milk, and stu­dents do bet­ter on math tests if they lis­ten to Mozart be­fore­hand. The “Mozart ef­fect” was later partly con­futed, but what’s for cer­tain is that Mozart’s mu­sic is good for us for one very pri­mor­dial rea­son: It makes us feel good. Bar­rie Kosky knows this very well, and as soon as he be­came art direc­tor of the Komis­che Oper (p. 54) in 2012, he es­tab­lished a whole month ev­ery year ded­i­cated to the eclec­tic ge­nius and his op­eras.

This year’s Mozart May pro­gram in­cludes two cham­ber con­certs and six dif­fer­ent op­eras, all rep­re­sented in unique, sur­pris­ing ways in line with the opera house’s young and ec­cen­tric style. In the fi­ancée-swap­ping Così Fan Tutte, for ex­am­ple, Alvis Her­ma­nis treats Lorenzo Da Ponte’s farce about love and be­trayal as a tragi­com­edy with a melan­choly and pic­to­rial set­ting, al­ter­nat­ing mod­ern work­places and art gal­leries. Mean­while, the world’s fa­vorite rapist and mur­derer, Don Gio­vanni, is de­picted frivolously by Her­bert Frisch in a con­tro­ver­sial Ger­man-lan­guage ver­sion.

The Komis­che Oper also presents the opera se­ria Lu­cio Silla, writ­ten when Mozart was only 16. Filled with mo­ments of bravura and de­mand­ing arias, this rare master­piece is com­pa­ra­ble in ma­tu­rity and beauty to the com­poser’s later, more fa­mous works, and tells the story of the dic­ta­tor who determined the fall of the Ro­man Em­pire. For three hours of pure fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment, don’t miss Kosky’s ren­di­tion of The Magic Flute. With a set com­prised of dark car­toon an­i­ma­tion, oneiric cos­tumes and scenes, and all of the Singspiel’s recita­tives short­ened and pro­jected on screen in si­lent-film-style, this is a de­light­ful per­for­mance you will want to see more than once. For even more Mozart, on 10 May the Konz­erthaus (p. 54) presents its yearly Mozart Marathon, “a fes­ti­val of works and words” by the Aus­trian ge­nius.

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