Some problematic staging and Moser underwhelms as Aaron, but the musical values and Grundheber are superb and the ending is satisfactory at the least
Moses Und Aaron is not one of my favourites, but I do understand its importance and also Schoenberg's influence on music and expressionism(which is not really to my taste). This is a decent production, but I'd hesitate in calling it a great one. The staging does have its moments, the first act is actually quite well done on the whole and the ending while inconclusive(more a fault with the opera) is moving and an improvement on the ending of the 1975 film.
But it also has its problems, a lot of the second act is very unimaginative(especially with the chorus, who are too cluttered and noisy) and strays too far from Schoenberg's admittedly unrealisable stage directions and I just didn't get the significance of the staging of the Golden Calf. Thomas Moser's Aaron underwhelmed me also. The role is a killer, but Moser sounds uncomfortable in the role, often strained on the high notes and lacking in nobility, while his acting is not as eloquent as one would expect The costumes and sets are too stark and consumer-materialised also for my tastes.
The production has a number of pros though, the music is difficult and a very acquired taste but grows on you, and the orchestra play with a lot of power if occasionally lacking a transparent touch, the conducting is authoritative and the chorus sing with a well-blended sound, one wishes their stage direction was much more inspired. The video directing is excellent. Franz Grundheber is superb as Moses, conveying his noble and troubled personality in a very moving way. His delivery is also done with dignity and pathos. All in all, has problems but also worth seeing. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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