After a rather horrible Friday full of stress the weekend has been a complete dream (Friday’s a whole other story but I will say that I hate living in a country where I don’t speak the language well enough to solve my own problems when the tax office has a blip and sends scary letters. I’m also darn glad that I have such amazing friends and it’s times like this that reveal who they really are – thanks Robbert).
Yesterday, I set off from Amsterdam Centraal for Duisburg Hbh. It’s only a two hour train journey which just underlines how easy travel is when you don’t have that annoying strip of water (a.k.a. The English Channel). We also ended up travelling first class because, for some reason, when we booked that was the same cost as regular tickets. I’m not complaining.
Anyway, the aim of our trip wasn’t to see Duisburg itself – according to our hotel receptionist the highlights of the city are its two good restaurants and the odd fight between pigeons but I can’t comment. Our aim was to see the musical Mozart! which was playing for the weekend only before jetting off to Shanghai. I’d missed it in Vienna so really did want to catch it. So pleased I did.
To be quite honest, the show left me completely speechless. My mother, who doesn’t understand German at all and had only watched the subtitled DVD once before, was similarly affected. It was an exquisite performance and I don’t really know how to properly discuss it. I’d normally pick a few highlight moments or people who stood out in the cast but I just cannot do it. That was what was so special, it was perfectly strong all round.
That’s not to say that it was polished to an artificial point of perfection – Oedo Kuipers might have forgotten the first line of the chorus in one of his solos, “Ich bin Musik”, for example – but the emotional intensity was there throughout. Kuipers was amazing in the title role both vocally and in the amount he put into it. From energetically running around the stage to breaking down and shaking violently, he seriously put his life and soul into the role.
Maximilian Mann was the only member of the cast I’d seen before, as Franz Joseph in Elisabeth. I was interested to see what he’s be like as Colloredo; they’re such different characters. He was amazing with a power of voice and presence I’d not had to opportunity to see in his Franz Joseph, for obvious reasons. I think my mother’s favourite might have been Marc Clear, Leopold Mozart, if her “woah” during the applause after “Schliess dein Herz in Eisen ein” was anything to go by! Amelie Dobler as Nannerl Mozart was great and, even though I can’t quite accept the changed role of Nannerl in the revival, her performance did win me over. Anna Hofbauer’s Constanze was brilliant, full of life and energy. And Ann Christin Elverum as Baronin von Waldstätten well, wow. What a voice. The smaller roles/chorus were also amazingly strong. I can’t name everyone or detail their qualities but seriously.
Oh, but one other cast member who deserves a special mention is the person playing Amadé, the personification of Mozart’s genius. I believe that our Amadé was played by Sophie Wilfert (but could be mistaken). I found myself watching Amadé whenever he was present on stage because the responses to the action gave a whole other depth to the narrative. That’s also something you can’t do when watching a DVD, watch the background (yet important) bits.
I’m aware this is going to read as an over the top glorification of the production but I think it’s pretty justified. I have literally never seen a complete audience jump to its feet so quickly after the end of a production to give it a standing ovation. Mozart! isn’t my favourite musical in the whole wide world – although I do like it a lot – but I feel quite justified in saying this was one of, if not the, best show I have had the pleasure of watching. Perhaps not being able to explain eloquently why I feel this way is a symptom of the feeling.
All I can say is that I will most certainly be keeping an eye on the full cast’s further theatrical engagements and maybe, after Shanghai, we might see a German tour… well, I can hope, right?