Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Věc Makropulos – Salzburg 2011 (Interlude: Der Festspielhaus Maus)

This is clearly a Regieoper production, with a lot of symbolism depicting the aspects of a long life: repetition, waiting, etc. 
One regie bit that seemed pretty clear to me occurs 29 minutes into Act 3. As Emilia sings, "For me, life has stopped. I can go no further...the terrible loneliness,” a dormouse runs across the front of the stage. In German, this is a Siebenschläfer (Seven Sleepers); like our Punxsutawney Phil, he is a weather harbinger. 

The mouse is named after the legend of the seven sleepers: A group of Christian youths hid inside a cave outside the city of Ephesus around 250 AD to escape persecution. They fell asleep inside the cave and did not awaken until 300 years later.
I looked at the video again and thought: “How cool to use such an odd local reference to longevity! But how on earth did they get that mouse to run across the stage on cue? Is there a habitrail tube running across there?”

With a little research (for example, reading the comments on the YouTube page – go figure!), I discovered that der Siebenschläfer was not part of the director’s concept at all. For some reason known only to himself, the little mouse took this opportunity to make his stage debut, and the clever camera operators (and Kristina) saw it and caught it on tape. 
The Salzburger Nachrichten subsequently dubbed him the Festspielhaus Phantom of the Opera.   (Kudos to Kristina for not reacting any more than she did. I love that tiny smile!)

Der Siebenschläfer in his natural habitat

Here is Act 2 of Věc Makropulos:

Read Part 1 Here
Read Part 2 Here
Read Part 3 Here


  1. The mouse is great :)

  2. Complementary mouse with opera purchase!

  3. I completely missed the mouse!

    1. You must have gotten a defective copy. You should ask for your money back :-)


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