Wozzeck at Santa Fe Opera
July 31, 2011
* Notes *
Santa Fe Opera's revival of Wozzeck last Saturday was nothing short of impressive. The orchestra had a full and intense sound under David Robertson, only occasionally overwhelming the singers. Daniel Slater's production has a fine, stark clarity. The Fool (played by Randall Bills) as Wozzeck's double was artful. The set, designed by Robert Innes Hopkins, makes good use of the space, and is enhanced by Rick Fisher's lighting. The scene changes were smooth. There were just a few moments when the humming of motors or the impact of edges against one another could be heard. The costumes, also from Hopkins, are smart and use an attractive palette of colors. The stylized choreography from John Carrafa is sharply defined and suits Berg's music.
The singers were strong. The chorus was together and sounded almost strangely beautiful. Stuart Skelton was menacing as the Drum Major, yet his voice was appealingly warm and bright. Eric Owens was quite funny as the Doctor, with a rich, powerful sound. Robert Brubaker also made for a humorous Captain, his voice is pingy and cuts through the orchestration without being shrill. Nicola Beller Carbone (Marie) showed a range of emotions through her voice, her singing in Act III, Scene 1 was particularly lovely. Her physicality throughout the opera was admirable. Richard Paul Fink (pictured above in Act III, Scene 4, photograph by Ken Howard) gave a visceral and captivating performance as Wozzeck. Fink excels at Sprechstimme, and he inhabited the character completely.
* Tattling *
It rained 30 minutes before the performance, and lightening was visible during the opera, but thunder was not noted. There was minor electronic noise in the form of watch alarms at 10pm. Standing room was not crowded. Some of the latecomers were audible, but not bothersome. I did have to use all of my powers of concentration to ignore the ushers whispering in the last five minutes of the opera.