BBC Music Magazine - - OPERA -

Das Liebesver­bot Christo­pher Malt­man, Peter Lo­dahl, Ilker Ar­cayürek, David Ale­gret, David Jerusalem, Manuela Uhl, María Miró, María Hi­no­josa; Coro y Orquesta Ti­t­u­lares del Teatro Real/ivor Bolton; dir. Kasper Holton (Madrid, 2016)

Opus Arte DVD: OA 1191D; Blu-ray: OABD 7231D 160 mins

Af­ter dis­as­trous open­ing per­for­mances wor­thy of Noises Off, Wag­ner aban­doned his first opera as a ‘youth­ful sin’. How­ever, 20th-cen­tury revivals, no­tably Ed­ward Downes’s fa­mous BBC stu­dio record­ing, and re­cent stag­ings, in­clud­ing this from Madrid’s Teatro Real, have con­firmed that it’s by no means un­en­joy­able.

Fed up with Ger­manic stodgi­ness and nar­row-mind­ed­ness, Wag­ner shifted the lo­ca­tion of Shake­speare’s Mea­sure for Mea­sure from Vi­enna to sun­lit, sen­su­ous Si­cily, ruled by a pu­ri­tan­i­cal Ger­man gov­er­nor, Friedrich, who de­clares all amorous li­cense, in­clud­ing Car­ni­val, a cap­i­tal of­fence. Shake­speare’s rak­ish wit Lu­cio be­comes the Si­cil­ian leader, egging on the novice nun Is­abella to ex­pose Friedrich’s hypocrisy in con­demn­ing her brother. Wag­ner scored it with af­fec­tion­ate Ital­ian pas­tiche, and con­sid­er­able the­atri­cal vigour, but that said, the work lacks any real mu­si­cal unity, a rag­bag of in­flu­ences that swings from

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