Operetta Research Center
21 April, 2022
Quo vadis, Komische Oper? That’s what many have been wondering. How will the new artistic directors continue the now world-famous operetta tradition of the company, built up by Barrie Kosky in the past ten years, after Kosky leaves as intendant in the summer of 2022? This week, Susanne Moser and Philip Bröking as the new leading team gave answers.
After the company had made such a splash with revived Weimar Republic pieces such as Ball im Savoy and Perlen der Cleopatra in the past, there’s a new focus on “book musicals” from Broadway. The first of these new productions – after My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof, which are both already in the repertoire – will be La Cage aux Folles, staged by Mr. Kosky himself and with some of his established partners: Otto Pichler is in charge of the choreography, Rufus Didwiszus designs the sets and costumes are by Klaus Bruns.
Some of Mr. Kosky’s old operetta heroes return, and thus we get Peter Renz as Georges, and Tom Erik Lie as Zaza (you’ll recall Lie’s attempt to present La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein as a Bette Midler imitation). However, the first cast for Zaza is Stefan Kurt, an altogether different acting caliber who already gave star quality to Weinberger’s Frühlingsstürme and Dostal’s Clivia.
The other star name in the cast is Nicky Wuchinger, former Phantom of the Opera and hero in various large-scale musicals: he’ll play Jean-Michel, the son of Zaza and Georges. Georges ex-wife (and biological mother of Jean-Michel) will be performed by Helmut Baumann!
We’ll have to wait and see how that’ll work out as a new level of genderfuck.
Offenbach fans will relish the news that Oyayaye and Fortunios Lied are presented as a double-bill, as the 2022 Christmas concert operetta, directed by Max Hopp who (sadly) doesn’t sing/act himself. Instead, Hagen Matzeut sings Queen Oyayaye opposite Tansel Akzeybek as Racle-à-mort, in part 2 Burghart Klaußner is Fortunio and Alma Sadé Mari, his wife. Hagen Matzeit plays Babette, the cook. And: Adrien Perruchon conducts.
The overdue genderbending version of Die Rache der Fledermaus finally arrives with Geschwister Pfister, after various Corona delays. Stefan Huber directs and Kai Tietje conducts his own new arrangements of the score. Next to Christoph Marti as Rosalinde and Tobias Boon, there’s Alen Hodzovic to look forward to as Alfred. (You might recall Mr. Hodzovic from the superlative Vetter aus Dingsda in Bremen, where he played opposite Nicky Wuchinger, by the way.) Stefan Kurt is the Forsch in the version of the Strauss classic and Stefanie Dietrich (fresh off her success with Zwei Krawatten at Staatsoperette Dresden) is Orlofsky.
Apart from Wagner, Mozart, Ambroise Thomas and some other opera goodies, there’s a second new Kosky production: …und mit Morgen könnt ihr mich! “Ein Berlin-Abend mit Songs von Kurt Weill.”
This Weill program follows the success of Lonely House, and again, Katharine Mehrling will be the sole star. Kai Tietje conducts. While Lonely House focused on Weill’s music written for America, this new production presents songs from his Berlin years.
Another noteworthy new name is Axel Ranisch who makes his house debut with a production of Händel’s oratorio Saul. This will be part of a Händel Festival at Komische Oper next season. And hopefully Mr. Ranisch will return, later, with some novel operetta resurrections.
And just the set your mind at rest: Die Perlen der Cleoptara and Eine Frau, die weiß, was sie will both remain in the repertoire and are performed next season, Ball im Savoy isn’t. Instead, Orpheus in der Unterwelt returns, now conducted by Adrien Perruchon, Peter Bording is Jupiter once more.