Chundy says, “We took inspiration from films such as Nosferatu and Metropolis, and painters such as van Gogh and Munch, who have given us creative ways to portray horror – the oozes and drips of paint, heavy lighting and shadow, color and gray. “
The magical scenes are in garish colors, the normal world in washed-out grays until the forces of evil are swept away, when a more natural color blends into the landscape, she says. “It’s hard work for Zoe, but it’s a simple theatrical fix.”
Conductor Greg Hocking says Der Freischutz is immensely difficult to stage, not least because âthe plot is so laughable. Opera Australia made it to Sydney in the early 2000s and abandoned it because it was such a disaster.
“The tenor role is very demanding and not everyone knows the music or the style. The narration of these folk tales is extremely important for the development of German Romanticism, but when Wagner took over it stopped. “says Hocking.
But its virtues are strong. “It’s very changeable, it never goes beyond its welcome, there is no need to make cuts [to the music – the spoken dialogue has been edited], and we have a great chorus. “
The Melbourne Opera had to turn down choristers, he said, because there were so many more than he could fit on the Athenaeum’s small stage.
Der Freischutz is famous for its overture, the Wolfsglen scene, a bold and brassy chorus of hunters and some lovely tunes for Agathe. The Melbourne Opera has a strong set of principals, with tenor Jason Wasley as Max, bass Steven Gallop as Caspar, Sally Wilson as Agathe and mezzo Andrea Creighton as his parent Annchen.
Wilson, who recently moved to Australia after building her career in the United States and Europe, sings Agathe for the first time. She made the rare but not unprecedented career change from a mezzo soprano to a full lyrical / coloratura soprano, which requires a higher vocal range and great agility.
The old shooting competitions on which the opera is based, known as Schutzenfests, are still popular in Germany, Hocking says. In fact, there will be one in Barossa Valley, South Australia on Saturday, the same day. Der Freischutz opens. âBut the prize is no longer a bride,â Hocking said, somewhat reluctantly.
Melbourne opera house Der Freischutz is at the Athenaeum Theater from January 31 to February 14.