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Nabucco

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Nabucco prisoner scene photo

ABOVE: The Hebrew prisoners in Nabucco. INSET BELOW: Fenena and Nabucco in the thunderbolt scene.

Nabucco production design and presentation

Yannis Kokkos has brought a decidedly contemporary look to the Bayerische Staatsoper production of Nabucco. The simple but powerful set designs act almost as a backdrop to the innovative costumes, and the lighting (directed by Michael Bauer) emphasizes the modern 3D picture-frame layout of the major set components.

photoThe contemporary approach works well (although I wouldn't have minded a bit of old-fashioned flash and smoke instead of the abstract LED-style thunderbolt), and one scene in particular--the imprisonment of the Jews behind a screen of chain-link and barbed-wire fencing--has a powerful impact by conjuring up mental images of a World War II concentration camp.

Musically and dramatically, the production is Verdi all the way; there's plenty of vocal and gestural drama, it's easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys, and you shouldn't have any trouble figuring out what's going on if you know the opera or have read the English-language plot summary in the program. (Surtitles are in German, and the program includes a libretto in both Italian and German.)

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