Schneewittchen(Snow White) (2011)
Marius Felix Lange after the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm (G) · Benjamin Prins (F)
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Altes Pfandhaus, Köln
Elena Tzavara, director / Gürzenich-Orchester Köln / Samuel Hogarth
Writing the libretto to Snow White was a great pleasure. This material, firmly established in the collective consciousness and preserved in a countless number of versions, offered the opportunity for free variation and fanciful embellishment like hardly another. Following the Grimms’ version as the central thread, particularly important for me was the reference to the very current phenomenon of the beauty and youthfulness craze, which in our time mirrors the flourishing of a beauty industry approaching the grotesque. In the opera, this is represented by the itinerant tradesman. Snow White, a small girl who is only seven years old in the Grimm Brothers, is protected from lasting harm through the intrigues of the evil (and at the same time quite comical) Queen Clothilde by her kind-hearted naivety, which envelops her musically in a gentle and loving veil. The seven dwarves, each characterized as an individual craftsman, are just as charmed in their 7/8-time integrity by Snow White, as is, at the end, Prince Adelar, who in tenorial enthusiasm saves her from the sleep of death and in whom she finds a kindred spirit. (Marius Felix Lange)
The score is truly impressive. It begins in the music-box register, which is reminiscent of Saint-Saëns, but then wanders along unforeseeable paths. It is always suggestive and imaginative.... an overwhelming production with only one reservation: its full richness can hardly be appreciated by attending just one performance. But doesn’t a fairy tale desire to be read over and over again? (Pierre Gervasoni, Le Monde, 22 April 2013)