Agrippina at Unter den Linden
February 18, 2010
* Notes *
The final performance this season of Agrippina at Staatsoper Unter den Linden was last Sunday. Vincent Boussard's production was Regietheater at its silliest, involving layers of iridescent beaded curtains, bowler hats, umbrellas, and a pair of giant beach balls filled with helium. Guido Levi's lighting did look wonderful with all the beads and other reflective surfaces on the ground. The Christian Lacroix costumes were elegant and flattering. For the most part it was all very entertaining, though the simulated oral sex in Act II was not particularly tasteful.
René Jacobs had the orchestra sounding lively, perhaps a bit hazy at first, but otherwise fairly crisp. The singing was satisfactory, no one stood out except for Bejun Mehta as Ottone. His volume and control are admirable. Jennifer Rivera (Nerone) did some impressive acrobatics on the floor as others sang, she too as a pretty voice. Marcos Fink sounded warm and hearty as Claudio. Alexandrina Pendatchanska was a bit shrill and piercing in the title role, but perhaps this suits the ruthlessness of this character.
* Tattling *
The audience this evening had a higher percentage of Germans than foreigners than the night before. They did not live up to the stereotypes we hold of Prussians as being efficient and proper. For one thing, some of them had trouble being on time to this sold-out show, and were not discrete about entering the hall. Secondly, they could not stop talking, even though they were repeatedly hushed. They even seemed somewhat sheepish when asked to be quiet, but nonetheless, this would wear off and they would start talking again.