* Notes *
The last performance this season of Pierangelo Valtinoni's Pinocchio at Komische Oper Berlin was last Tuesday morning. This hour-long opera for children was given in German, and Jetske Mijnssen's production is adorable. The set, designed by Benita Roth, was an over-sized blue cabinet with two doors and three drawers. Christine Mayer's costumes were delightful and creative, although all on the traditional side. Overall, this has been the most traditional looking opera I have seen in Berlin, and it is somewhat ironic given that the music dates from 2001. There was much percussion, but the sound was more on the jazz or pop spectrum of contemporary music.
The cast included many children, who sounded like they were using microphones. They acted well and were sweet. I was especially enamored of the four gravedigger bunnies. As for the grown-ups, Karen Rettinghaus sang well in the title role and was convincing as a boy. Hans Gröning was slightly quiet as Geppetto. Susanne Kreusch stood out as the Blue Fairy, her voice was otherworldly and had good volume.
* Tattling *
The Komische Oper building is a bit odd, it looks like a sandstone box on the outside and rather rococo on the inside. They also played a recording of a ring in lieu of having an announcement about mobile phones, but a different ring than over at Unter den Linden.
My favorite part of the opera was the Pleasure Island scene when enormous fruits and pastries appeared. The underwater scene, after Pinocchio gets thrown in the sea, was fairly wonderful as well. All the oceanic creatures were fantastic, it was almost painfully cute.
There were tons of school groups at this particular opera, as one would expect. The children were quite excited and could not stop talking, and they particularly became noisy when someone on stage wrote that 1+1=3 on a chalkboard. At the end they clapped enthusiastically and chanted for an encore.