With the story of a bird with magical powers based on motifs from Armenia, the merged theater enriches the pre-Christmas program with an exotic facet
After almost three years, one had almost forgotten what that sounded like: several hundred children of pre-school and primary school age, crowding the rows of seats in a large theater hall and talking to one another as lively as they were polyphonic, in tense anticipation of what might come.
In case of children’s opera It took a whole year before it can be seen in both houses of the Plauen-Zwickau Theater at Christmas. The musical fairy tale, based on popular Armenian material, was originally set up and staged by ex-opera director Jürgen Pöckel and was originally supposed to premiere at the end of 2021, in the last season of the general manager Roland May.The opera is about the “failed” king’s son Alo-Dino (Johannes Fritsche), who competes with his two brothers (Tilman Rau, Alcaios Papanagis) ventures out into the world to help her father’s cursed, withered garden bloom again. Only the song of the legendary night
tigall thousand trill is able to let its green sprout again. Alo-Dino wins the bird after surviving all sorts of dangers for his father’s farm – and incidentally takes care of himself, his brothers and the gardener with wives. Happy ending for everyone. No losers. And people only die in the operas for the grown-ups.
Set 80 minutes of absolute silence
What does a theater have in store for children who, after the past few years of cultural Corona diet, are almost certainly hearing and seeing an opera for the first time in their lives? Experience teaches that children like to be taken seriously. If they don’t, if they don’t feel challenged, then show it. Measured against this, “Nachtigall Millennium” is a complete success: a full 80 minutes of absolute silence in the rows of seats, certainly also because of the sounds from the stage, which are unfamiliar to young ears: the music for the fairy tale had Kapellmeister Wladimir Yaskorski after pieces including the Armenians Arranged by Komitas Vardapet, Aleksandr Spendiaryan and Sayat Nova. Music that is strange and unique in its iridescent harmonies, its sometimes strangely shifted tone intervals and its exotic rhythm euphony exudes. The members of the Clara Schumann Philharmonic convey this together with the stage musicians Gregor Schulenberg and Grigor Shagoyan on the oud, the Central Asian lute, and the duduk, the Armenian reed flute, in the most comfortable, accessible way. Slightly more crude, modern echoes of the 20th century, somewhere between Dmitri Shostakovich and Aram Khachaturian, bring contrasts and excitement to the scenic structure.
And singers also show the commitment that the children, if they taste blood, can and want to experience again when they visit the opera in the future: the short but important role that has become a human being shines nightingale (Christina Maria Gass) in a dress made of cage bars. The King (Maurice…