Saturday, October 04, 2008

Moses und Aron

After posting reviews of the radio programmes.... writing about an opera is not so unusuall - is it?

Well, "Moses und Aron" by Arnold Schönberg is something worth writing about and worth to recommend to everybody interested in modern music. First of all, libretto and music is by one of the giants of XX century music - the man who laid the ground to atonal, or rather, twelve-tonal music. "Moses und Aron" is partially tonal, but the atonality is also very important there and forms a large part of the score.

Second, the libretto is, of course based on biblical theme, literally on the story of Aaron being involved in Golden Calf blasphemy, while Moses was on Mount Sinai with G-d.

The Opera, particularly in the realization I saw - by Vienna State Opera, uses this theme to present the unending dillema of theory versus practice, idea versus reality, True G-d versus politheism. Aaron is after practicality, reality while Moses after ideas, theory and virtues.

The incredible images on screens of TV sets palying the central role in Act II of the Opera, show what the authors of this staging, take as "modern day" politheism. Later, in the interview, Reto Nickler, the stage director, explains this explicitly: the modern politheism is a focus on appearances, on the unrealism of media, particulary of TV, it is in the bigotry, in the egoism, in the acts of those who kill people in the name of god....

Moses und Aron is a great opera, and I do advice to everybody, like me, who did not like opera so far - to watch, to listen, to experience it....

See: the images from the opera.

1 comment:

  1. Mirek, this is intriguing. First, I had not seen Moses as the theoretical one and Aaron as the practical one before ... Then I am eager to see how the ties to modern idolatry/polytheism are made. Thanks for taking a brief detour from and reviewing this opera. I really want to see it after reading your review.
    - Diane