Opera in three acts (15 scenes) after Georg Büchner’s “Woyzeck”
Fabio Luisi, conductor
Andreas Homoki, stage director
Chor der Oper Zürich
Christian Gerhaher (Wozzeck)
Gun-Brit Barkmin (Marie)
The soldier Wozzeck (Christian Gerhaher) flits through a world that he is unable to decipher. The doctor torments him with absurd medical experiments; the captain humiliates and ridicules him. And Wozzeck’s lover, Marie (Gun-Brit Barkmin), with whom he has a child, cuckolds him with the drum major. Wozzeck becomes a murderer, stabbing Marie to death. Georg Büchner’s drama fragment, on which Alban Berg based his first opera, is an unflinching case study of social injustice and human suffering. But it is also a grotesque piece that thrives on exaggeration – and in which only a fine line separates the unfathomable from the ridiculous. Accordingly, director Andreas Homoki forgoes all realism.
His nightmarishly radical production is inspired by puppet theatre. Christian Gerhaher’s role début as Wozzeck can only be described as sensational: his capacity for vocal and dramatic subtlety is simply breath-taking. At the rostrum of the Philharmonia Zurich, Fabio Luisi explores both the expressionistic and the more intimate aspects, reminiscent of chamber music, in Berg’s seminal score.
“This is a finely honed production that follows its premise to an absurdist conclusion with slick theatricality and dispassionate zeal…” Gramophone
“The production was a triumph.” BBC Music Magazine
“This impressive performance of Berg’s ‘Wozzeck’ from the Zurich Opera is a reference recording. The musical aspect is simply outstanding, with an incomparable Christian Gerhaher in the title role and charismatic conducting from Fabio Luisi. The remarkably detailed staging is no less inspiring, and the video recording is excellent, too. A production of terrific intensity and concentration.” ICMA