cohn17

October 9, 2007

Things German (Part 2)

Filed under: general — cohn17 @ 3:02 pm

During the weekend, we also visited the Kunsthalle, which is a splendid art museum. (It was even better than visiting the Omega watch boutique, and for me, that’s saying something.) Because of the museum’s no-flash photography policy, coupled with my not having a tripod, some of the photographs here are a bit fuzzy. I also neglected to take notes on what I was looking at, so my commentary is going to be very spotty.

We liked this one because it reminded us of Cooper. This is a view of Hamburg. Again, I don’t know the artist. I believe this is a Monet, but I cannot find it listed on the internet. I liked this one for the treatment of the light.

Alfred Sisley, The Cornfield. This is one of the viewing galleries. Abby. This is a view from the main stairway, which itself if a work of art.

George Grosz, John the Sex Murderer Wassily Kandinsky, White Spot Pablo Picasso, Man with Guitar Edvard Munch, Madonna.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Finally, on Wednesday (the 3rd), back in Tirana, we attended the premiere of Beethoven’s Fidelio at the Opera House. The story, in short, is about Leonora, whose husband (Florestan) has been imprisoned by the governor Pizzarro on political charges. She disguises herself as a man, Fidelio, and gets hired by the jailor, Rocco, with the aim of freeing her husband. Naturally, Rocco’s daughter falls in love with Fidelio, and she uses this to ingratiate herself with her boss. Meanwhile, the porter, Jacquino, is also in love with the daughter and so wants to kill Fidelio. Eventually, Leonora wins Rocco over to her cause and Don Fernando, the prime minister, frees Florestan, but not before Pizzarro attempts to have him put to death. In the end, Pizzarro is disgraced and everyone is freed.

Despite the Shakespearean overtones, this is not a comedy, and the motif of the political prisoner has particular resonance in Albania. The last scene, when the prisoners, who up to now had been shown in shabby, black and white Communist-era clothing, are shown in clean and modern street clothes – i.e., as having been rehabilitated by society – to watch the denouement, was visually effective. Still, the performance left some things to be desired – effective lighting, clear stage direction, and convincing acting being the first three, with synchronization of the supertitles coming in fourth. For example, the lighting designer indicated that the prisoners (save Florestan) had been let out into the courtyard for air by turning on the house lights; the actors’ facial expressions (if they had any) were lost to the shadows under the proscenium; and we didn’t even know they had a follow spot until somewhere toward the end of the first act. And there was something about a kid running across the stage that we still can’t figure out. Still, we had 14th row center seats for $10. You can’t beat that.

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