I was at the dress rehearsal of the Lyric's Abduction from the Seraglio this afternoon. It is a new production by Chas Rader-Schieber which opens on Monday evening. I may have missed the point - but it seemed to me that that here was a wonderful example of what can happen when money is tight. The first Act was somewhat lavish, modeled maybe on the charming court theater in Drottningholm with all the stage machinery and decorations fit for the late 18th century. Act 2 indicated some economies - we had just a revolving platform with a tree and that was about it. And third act was black legs and borders and a door. That was all. The question I had was whether this was the original plan or a dramatic response to our new realities.
Now this kind of minimalism is exactly what I am urged to provide at COT - but I am not sure that this is the answer. Anyway we will see - we will also be tightening our belts. I am sure that we will also have to find some clever ideas in the area of creative minimalism.
Apart from that there was an excellently balanced cast who will no doubt come up trumps at the opening on Monday evneing after a couple of free days after an exhausting rehearsal period. All are of sterling quality - two terrific tenors in Matthew Polenzani and Steve Davislim, and Lyric's own much loved Erin Wall as Constanze and the debutante Aleksandra Kurzak as Blonde. Andrea Silvestrelli was the crowd's favorite as Osmin. And in the hands of the superlative Mozartian Andrew Davis we can be confident that it will settle down as a polished ensemble performance of musical distinction.
Tomorrow I am am up bright and early (early anyway) and have to be up at WFMT's studios for a two hour COT season preview special. Tune in between 9 and 11 am.