A review in Sunday's New Yorker issue (the one with the by now infamous satirical Obama cover), “Die Soldaten” at the Armory by Alex Ross, brought me back to the heyday of the Cologne (Germany) Opera from the late 1950s into the mid-1960s under Oscar Fritz Schuh. Die Soldaten (The Soldiers) by Bernd Alois Zimmermann was commissioned by the Cologne Opera and saw its very first performance there in 1965, and it was something almost totally new at the time for us and extremely exciting! We were surrounded by sound! A new use of operatic voices! I saw/heard it three times, as people from out of town wanted to see it, including one night of free tickets with friends from the then also famous Baden-Baden Radio station, with a memorable and very boozy party afterward …
The opera is based on a 1776 Sturm and Drang play by Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz. I still remember the performances as though they had been yesterday. I won't be able to see the current production as it's only for a couple of days and the ticket price is totally out of my range. But maybe that's not a bad thing, I might not like the comparison.
A CD, Zimmermann: Die Soldaten, also comes at a rather stiff price.
And here is the NYT:
Lincoln Center Festival’s production of the opera “Die Soldaten” represents a milestone in the Park Avenue Armory’s transformation into a performance and visual arts space.
Image © Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
"A monitor shows the conductor during a rehearsal of “Die Soldaten” at the Park Avenue Armory."