"Dionysos" la genial opera de Rihm basada en la obra de Nietzsche “Dionysos-Dithyramben con Nietzsche como protagonista. El texto esta tomado de Nietzsche. Hoy 13 de marzo de 1952 nace Rihm.

Estrenada en Salzburgo el 26 de Julio de 2010 Rihm nació el 13 de marzo de 1952

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Articulo del New York Times 1 de agosto de 2010

SALZBURG, Austria — The German composer Wolfgang Rihm has little interest in music-theater works that tell realistic stories realistically. The operas that hooked him as a child were concoctions like Mozart’s “Zauberflöte,” with its ladies from the beyond, ghostly queen, mysterious guards and magic bells. “That is opera,” he said in an interview for the program book of this summer’s Salzburg Festival.

His latest operatic work, “Dionysos,” based on Nietzsche’s “Dionysos-Dithyramben,” had its premiere here at the festival on Tuesday. As the second performance showed on Friday, this is a musically compelling, sometimes ravishing allegorical exploration of man’s quest to embrace the Dionysian sensuality of life.

And like the operas Mr. Rihm admired as a child, “Dionysos” is mythical and magical: an operatic fantasy, he calls it. Pierre Audi’s production, at the Haus für Mozart, proved wondrously strange. Ingo Metzmacher conducted a valiant cast and the excellent Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. “Dionysos” won an ecstatic ovation from an audience that had seemed uncommonly absorbed.

I too was absorbed, as well as impressed and oddly moved. But while “Dionysos” is not that long (about two hours), and the staging was phantasmagorical, the piece was at times curiously ponderous.

Mr. Rihm’s score, while recognizably the music of a formidable atonal modernist, pulses with Wagnerian sweep, Straussian lushness and astringently alluring harmonic writing beholden to Berg yet somehow fresh. In that interview Mr. Rihm, discussing the limitations of conventional opera and his fascination with ambivalence, states that “nothing is so obstructive to music-theater as a perfect literary text.” In this work he tries to transcend the typical constraints of operatic storytelling. And that may be the problem.

Nietzsche’s “Dionysos-Dithyramben” is a fragmentary compilation of poetic philosophical thoughts. Every word of the opera’s text comes from Nietzsche, but Mr. Rihm has strung the bits together to make an allegorical libretto. And it has quite a story.

The main character, simply called N (for Nietzsche, presumably, though he is also an everyman), first appears as a rumpled middle-aged poet, so beaten down by life that he can barely speak. He is a wanderer, searching for the Dionysian spark that others seem to have. Two voluptuous nymphs mock him. Then one of them turns into Ariadne, an alluring young woman who entreats N to loosen up and succumb to her. He can say only, “I am thy labyrinth.”

A tousle-haired and radiant young man called Ein Gast (a Guest) appears, and enchants Ariadne with the same labyrinth line that N tried with no success. But by the next scene N and the Guest are brotherly travelers, roaming over mountains, staring into abysses, suffering storms and feeling hopeless.

Eventually we find them in a brothel, where they again become rivals. The opera turns brutally mythic during the last scenes, when the Guest is torn to pieces by a swarm of screaming Maenads. Then Apollo appears (the same singer who sang the Guest) and presides over the ritual flaying of N’s skin.

The bizarre scenario has inspired Mr. Rihm to write music of intriguing complexity and sheer sensual allure. Yet swept up as he is in some mythological realm where nothing can be made too explicit, he indulges himself as a composer and the musical-dramatic pacing goes off.

When we meet Ariadne, she sings an extended soliloquy of seduction. In a bravura performance the petite coloratura soprano Mojca Erdmann dispatches the vocal leaps and high-flying outbursts of this super-demanding role with clear tone, ease and expressivity. Yet the tour-de-force soliloquy goes on much too long, and the music undermines itself.

Another potentially profound scene also seems overextended. It comes when N, sung by the mellow baritone Johannes Martin Kränzle in a courageous and affecting performance, and the Guest, the bright-voiced, dynamic tenor Matthias Klink, come to realize that, though different in character, they are bound together on a punishing quest for the elusive life force. Their duet of echoed phrases, buttressed by the shimmering, hazy, wayward orchestra, is at first transfixing. But as the scene moves through additional extended episodes, the initial poignancy dissipates.

Still, it is hard to complain that a rich and fascinating opera could have been trimmer and better. Even when the dramatic pacing drags, the music is intriguing on its own terms. Mr. Rihm likes to fill his scores with allusions, and certainly goes at it here.

As diverse groups of tempting female characters come and go — two nymphs; three dolphins; four denizens of a brothel, all named Esmeralda; three mythical woman; and more — Mr. Rihm makes veiled references to Wagner’s Rhine Maidens and Flower Maidens, Mozart’s three women attendants to the Queen of the Night and the various comical nymphs who protect Strauss’s Ariadne. At the brothel the Guest sits at a piano and accompanies N in a song about a wanderer that patently evokes the tragic antihero of Schubert’s “Winterreise.”

Mr. Audi’s surreal production is continually inventive. I enjoyed it as much as his fantastical production of “Die Zauberflöte” at the 2006 Salzburg Festival. (He did not make a similarly strong impression with his lumbering production of Verdi’s “Attila” last season for his debut at the Metropolitan Opera.) Here, working with the set designer Jonathan Meese, he uses scrims, videos and the wild costumes of Jorge Jara to convey both the mystical and the playful dimensions the tale.

I loved the scene — both the music and the staging — in which a ragtag chorus of people in matching black caps huddle together reading tabloids with headlines blazing “Total Nietzsche, Total Dionysos.” Presumably they are checking up-to-date reports on the adventures of the hapless N.

But by the end, as N’s skin is flayed and he learns his lesson (whatever that may be), the symbolism overwhelms the opera. When N’s suit is stripped off, he appears dressed as a satyr. Ah, we get it: his inner Dionysus. And when the satyr’s feathery garb is cut off, Mr. Kränzle’s N looks pitiable in a bloody body suit.

In the program book interview Mr. Rihm takes a poke at verismo opera, which he has little feeling for. He exempts “Tosca” a bit, because that story is so “wonderfully illogical.” But he could learn a thing or two from Puccini’s streamlined storytelling. And the symbolism of Tosca’s placing candles on each side of the murdered Scarpia’s body is a lot subtler than showing us the inner satyr of the beleaguered N.

During curtain calls Mr. Rihm seemed overcome with gratitude to his cast and to Mr. Metzmacher, as he should have been. The singers gave their all. And the orchestra, having proved itself on Thursday in a blazing performance of Mr. Rihm’s daunting ballet “Tutuguri: Poème Dansé,” gave an equally accomplished, plush and incisive performance of “Dionysos.”

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