Opera Everywhere in Berlin

One of our group, Philip Levy recommended our hotel, the Camper Casa and it has proved to be a great success and its facilities much enjoyed by all. It is very simple with a plain foyer and front desk, large utilitarian guest rooms with every convenient facilty you could want. Best of all is a 24 hour cafeteria style lounge dining area on the top floor where you can have self serve food and drink on an honour system any time you want, ideal for a group like us when we come home after a concert at 11 pm wanting a drink or three, gossip and a snack. Berlin is such a wonderful varied city these days, a place where everything happems for whatever your taste is – at all times of the day or night. in nearly a week here, we have been to a performance at all three of the full time professional opera companies here. The Deutsche Oper, the Staatsoper Berlin, and the Komische Oper, the last run by the redoubtable Australian Barrie Kosky, once our-love-to-loathe director of horrible productions, now the poster boy of European high opera, soon to debut at Bayreuth. At the Deutsche Oper, we saw Graham Vick’s controversial production of Tristan and Isolde set in a retirement home with often inexplicable goings on. In many ways it seemed completely illogical, even incomprehensible, but there was a painful dreaminess and angst that gave it a powerful dimension. At the Schiller Theater, (while the Staatsoper Berlin is being endlessly renovated), altogether more entertaining was Martinu’s Juliette or the Key to Dreams, an absolutely wonderful staging and performance of this mysterious surrealistic opera about a man and his lover locked in some kind of separate time capsules. The director, Claus Guth, (who directed the sensational Messiah Leo Schofield and I saw in Vienna a couple of years ago) had a field day with a set of madly opening and closing sets of doors and windows plus extraordinary performances by Rolando Villazon, singing gloriously and looking and moving like a young Charlie Chaplin and the gorgeous Magdalena Kozcena. This was a completely memorable performance and production that you wait years to see. A mad Don Giovanni at Komische Oper like marionettes on speed completed our opera in Berlin

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