Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sale – A Handel Project by Christoph Marthaler, Zurich Opera

ASvO left; MH right, at top of escalator.

It appears that Sale – A Handel project by Christoph Marthaler is going to be another Baroque pastiche along the lines of the Met's Enchanted Island. Of course, since Christoph Marthaler has conceived the plot and production, I am sure it will be much weirder.

And reading the press release, I think it sounds weirder than it probably is:

Sale tells the story of a department store threatened with closure. Amidst the shelves of this once flourishing business, the estranged family shareholders reassemble after decades apart; their sense of connection previously only tangible through paper accounts. 
Through Handel’s music, the family relive the happiness of a golden era of successful sales, countless employees and ringing cash registers. They sink deeper into recollections of the past and share an increasingly heightened and human sense of loss. 
I was hoping to have a link to a review here in time for this post. Unfortunately all I have found so far is this advanced notice at operalively forums, and the mostly negative preaction of the forum members. I'm disappointed that people are prejudging this performance before it even hits the boards. The production and/or performances may truly suck (I personally have mixed feelings about Marthaler's ideas), but why not wait to see just how badly it sucks before forming an opinion?  After all, he did a pretty awesome job with The Makropulos Case.

Actually, I doubt the music will suck. While I don't know much about conductor Lawrence Cummings, his bio (in English at the above forum) is promising. And with a cast that includes Anne Sofie von Otter, Malin Hartelius, and Christophe Dumaux, the musical aspects of the show should be pretty darned good. (The bits you can hear on the trailer below sound very promising!)

Hopefully someone like medici or mezzo will be webcasting this soon. In the meantime, there are more production photos here.

Sale Part 2 - A review
Sale Extra - More reviews


  1. Much weirder than the Enchanted Island would definitely be a good thing. The Enchanted Island was cute, and well-executed in terms of singing/orchestral playing, but pretty tame.

    1. Good point. Speaking of Enchanted Island, I'm looking forward to the MET in HD broadcast of the Tempest this weekend.


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