On Friday night, I settled down with my favorite opera (and the one I have seen the most). I had this production (Vienna State Opera with Abbado) on VHS but lost it in a “loan it to someone and then we all moved” situation. I checked out another version on DVD once and found it utterly abhorrent. I don’t remember who put it together but the production was just overly bizarre and stylized. What I like about the Vienna State Opera production (other than Hildegard Behrens and Heinz Zednik) is that the humanity of the characters really comes through. This isn’t a “look at me, I’m a weird opera” production. This is a “look at these people in this situation” production.
I like the structure of the opera and the short scenes which tell very compartmentalized portions of the story. The vocal writing is expressive and it (to my ears, anyhow) walks that fine line between extended chromaticism and impossible atonality. If I ever mount a full-blown opera, it will be modeled after this one. Not much else to say about it, really. Back when I was in my undergrad and we talked about this opera in my music history class, I went to the library and checked out the video and score and watched it one afternoon. When I was in Louisville, a bunch of us piled in a car and drove to Bloomington to see the IU graduate opera perform Wozzeck on Halloween.