ARIBERT REIMANN (b.1936): Medea.
Catalogue Number: 02M086
Label: Arthaus Musik
Reference: 101 551
Description: The action of Reimann's opera begins at the point when Medea, the sorceress who helped Jason steal the golden fleece and bore him two sons, has been abandoned by Jason and is an alienated outsider in Corinth. The composer's libretto, after Franz Grillparzer, deals with Medea's interaction with the other principal characters, in which she is increasingly isolated and victimised, until her final murderous revenge is inevitable. Reimann's music is a tour de force for the singers; breathtakingly virtuosic without ever being literally breathtaking; the composer's skill in writing for the voice is, as usual, exemplary. The orchestra plays a major participatory role too; frequently divided into almost chamber-like groupings, it provides characterisation that counterpoints the actual characters on stage. When necessary the full forces are unleashed; the expressionistic climax in the murder scene (which takes place offstage, but the shattering music and clever stage effects leave one in no doubt as to what is happening) is tremendously effective. The staging is ingenious, making much use of available stage technology, and the stylized costumes - exaggerated gypsy rags for the 'barbarians' from Colchis, a kind of futuristic take on early 20th-century fashion for the sophisticated Greeks - add to the elegance of the production. English subtitles. Marlis Petersen (soprano), Michaela Sellinger (mezzo), Michael Roider (tenor), Adrian Eröd (baritone), Max Emanuel Cencic (male soprano), Vienna State Opera Orchestra; Michael Boder. 16:9 widescreen. Dolby Digital 5.1 or PCM Stereo. NTSC region 0. 113 min.