Alban Berg’s opera Wozzek, in a revival at the Israeli Opera, is a masterpiece
Portraying a murderer as a victim of social
discrimination, hypocritical morality, ridicule, adultery, jealousy and
insanity, the action unfolds gradually from initial confusion and helplessness
up to the final climax of killing and suicide.
It was an excellent,
strongly impressive performance, with subtle, tasteful direction and sets by
Manfred Beilharz and Bernd Holzapfel, abstract but poignantly suggestive,
carefully avoiding realistic banality and the abundant pitfalls of intricate
The singers did full justice to their dramatically
and emotionally demanding roles. In the lead role, Phillip Horst’s dark-timbred
bass-baritone convincingly expressed Wozzek’s accumulating mental stress from
desperation to uncontrollable madness.
In the role of Marie, Merav Barnea
emerged as a veritable discovery. Her bright, appealing soprano personified
innocence and submissiveness.
Tenor Arnold Bezuyen’s rich inflections, as
the Captain, and Vladimir Braun’s sonorous baritone, as the Doctor, represented
caricatural characters, just as the composer presumably may have
Conducted by David Stern, the Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion
enriched the performance by poignantly and persuasively conveying even emotions
and dramatic situations that were not expressed explicitly in the text and the