keskiviikko 4. tammikuuta 2012

Tanz der Vampire - Vienna revival 2009/2010

Generally the production is the best German-language whole production I've seen of TdV, though that's not yet much, as I'm not a big fan of the productions in Germany. Kentaur's sets are gorgeous, the colours are beautiful and I adore the religious symbolism he uses in the sets. There's visually so much to watch and to think about. The sets and costumes are mostly similar to the Budapest production, but in Vienna they have of course had more money to make them, though it hasn't automatically meant improvements. One detail that always makes me squee is the Jim Steinman look-alike ensemble vampire in the finale, I think it's a wonderful idea.

Still I feel that the production lacks some spirit. It's good and I liked to watch it, but it didn't really give me the lovely energetic feeling that TdV at its best does. I felt that the cast is pretty much just doing its work, and there was some true feeling, intensity and attitude missing, so much that I was bored at some points.

Much of this also depends on the conductor. In October 2009 we saw three different conductors (no idea of the names, sorry) and two of them failed to keep the orchestra and the ensemble together, with the result that for example Ewigkeit lacked all power and fell flat. The third was much better, and in April 2010 we had Caspar Richter who worked like a magician and had the whole performance 100 % under his control. The difference to the first two was very clear. In fact, I spent much of the performance just admiring Richter's working, which might also say something about my interest in the actors.

The cast

Krolock - Thomas Borchert
In autumn 2009 he seemed really stressed, so stressed that you could see it and it didn't do good for his acting. In April he was better, more relaxed and having fun and moving softly and beautifully. He sounds more divine than ever, there's something in his voice that I simply adore. It's deep, velvety, strong and beautiful. I first saw him as Krolock in
Hamburg in 2005 and then he was a very cold and cynical vampire. In the concerts there started to be more of the fun-having rock star in him, and now the cynical approach had returned with something else, of which I couldn't completely get the picture. He's more cold, distant and somehow more eternal-feeling than before. I must say I preferred the more alive-feeling concert-Krolock, because now there was definitely certain boredness in his interpretation, too.

Krolock - Alexander di Capri
I saw him twice in October and ended up liking him very much. He's a good actor with a good voice, and an extremely interesting Krolock, not the typical style but something very... special. He is very good in his own way, but I wouldn't like to see him as my first Krolock. In short, he seemed like a wicked little shaman who has spent too much time alone and forgotten how to interact with people, constantly forgot that people are hearing him when he thinks aloud, and generally just forgot the presence of other people. I definitely wouldn't follow his Krolock anywhere, but as a psychological character study on stage he was very fascinating.

Sarah - Marjan Shaki, Barbara Obermeier
I'm terribly sorry but I can't stand Marjan as Sarah. She usually either doesn't act or overacts, and her Sarah seems fake and unnatural and boring, much like a Barbie doll in many ways. She had some moments that I found interesting, but other than that my attention tended to wander from her to the sets or to the conductor. For example, the bathroom scene could be so much fun, but she doesn't get anything out of it, not even out of the "I have two" line that should be the easiest funny moment in the whole scene. She says it and that's it, nothing more. She's not seductive at all and I fail to see anything truly sexy in her, just the plastic-like Barbieness that isn't very appealing. Her voice is okay nowadays, still a bit too much breathing and sighing but not pain to my ears anymore. Her understudy Barbara Obermeier was much better in every possible way and made also Lukas Perman get more out of his role.

Alfred - Lukas Perman
My biggest problem with this production. Much like Marjan, he has about two facial expressions (smiling or scared) and his so-called acting is a pain to watch. His Alfred is whiny and has about one brain cell and, quoting Hermione from the Harry Potters, the emotional range of a tea spoon. Okay, Alfred isn't supposed to be as smart as the professor, but I don't see him as a complete idiot, either. Nothing seems to be going on in the head of Lukas!Alfred, he just stands there and plays the stereotypical pretty boy role and sings nicely and doesn't think or develop in the role at all. He's not Alfred, he's a Bambi-eyed Lukas looking pretty and singing prettily.

The problem with Alfred as a character is that there isn't much interesting written straight in the role, no memorable lines or anything. But the potential is there and the actor has to find and bring out the interesting aspects. In this Lukas totally fails. I've now seen him five times in the role in
Vienna, eight if you count the TAC concerts, and I'm definitely starting to have enough of him. Marjan is okay to watch, but seeing&hearing someone act as badly as Lukas makes me aggressive. I know I sound harsh in the case of these two, but I can't help it, I've tried hard to see something good in them but failed. I still want to go and kick Alfred whenever I think of Lukas. Marjan didn't cause that much aggressions and every now and then I liked something she did, but my gods, who has let Lukas Perman have a role that requires acting?

Professor Abronsius - Gernot Kranner, Martin Planz, Fernand Delosch
I've seen all three and all are good, even if Gernot has some legendary excellence brought by the years while the others are new in the role. Gernot!Abronsius genuinely likes Alfred and cares for him even if occasionally forgets it while concentrating on books, and he's a silly but very warm character. A bit too silly and warm even, I started to get annoyed with his silliness. Martin!Abronsius is smart and full of sharp logic, and he more just rolls his eyes at Alfred. I think we saw his premiere as Abronsius in autumn, and later we saw him again. Fernand Delosch was somewhere in between; if I remember right he was most like the nutty professor out of those three.

The ending had been slightly modified in
Vienna (later used in St. Petersburg). Abronsius sings the "Wir sind entkommen" part, but after that the music changes in tone and becomes dark and threatening. Abronsius notices that Alfred is gone and goes to look for him, and on the same time Krolock walks from the audience to the stage after Abronsius and starts to laugh. In October he followed Abronsius to the sets which pretty much looked like the Professor was going to be a vampire too, but in April Krolock stayed in the middle of the stage and was then lowered under it. The change makes the scene work a bit better, I like it when they leave the ending a bit more open and don't tell everything. Still I think that the whole scene tells too much and doesn't add anything to the story, on the contrary. However, Sarah and Alfred (and Krolock) joining the finale is a nice touch, even if I've always understood that S&A are a part of the "revolution" anyway, we just don't see them. It also wouldn't work with every Krolock, but in Vienna they had these younger rock-types.

It also depends on the Abronsius how this scene works. With Gernot Kranner it was upsetting, he was so worried of Alfred and it felt horrible to see a sweet old man almost scared for Alfred while Krolock approached him threateningly. With Martin Planz and Fernand Delosch I liked the scene a bit more, they didn't sound scared but only frustrated with the boy, and that matched the previous and the following scene much better. With Gernot the mood changed too much, from cheerful to distressed and then back to cheerful. Music-wise the added scene doesn't fit anything and feels out of place.

Herbert - Marc Liebisch
He's so sweet! This Herbert is totally a Drama Queen who wants to have all the attention, and yet under there is a little princess who dreams of the prince with a white horse. He has the usual gay stereotypes in the character, but he goes beyond them and has a real personality, too. I've never before seen a German-speaking Herbert who would be more than the boring stereotype, so Liebisch was a lovely surprise. Under all the sweetness he felt also damn dangerous.

The rest of the cast is okay, your basic good
Vienna quality with nothing specially mention-worthy. Generally I felt the production was the same: good, but nothing specially mention-worthy. The bad acoustics in Ronacher also disturbed a bit, and I was annoyed by the theatre staff who kept running around the auditorium, hunting for people who did anything with their cellphones. The staff broke the atmosphere more than the cellphone lights.

Link: Homepage of the production

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