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Your reaction: Wozzeck

What did you think of Keith Warner's production of Alban Berg's dark and tragic opera?

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

1 November 2013 at 10.30am | 10 Comments

Press reviews
Metro ★★★★★
The Guardian ★★★★
The Independent ★★★★
What's on Stage ★★★★
The Arts Desk ★★★★
Telegraph ★★★

What did you think of The Royal Opera's Wozzeck?

Wozzeck runs until 15 November. Tickets are still available

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

1 November 2013 at 10.30am

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Alban Berg, by Keith Warner, John Tomlinson, Karita Mattila, Production, review, Simon Keenlyside, Social Media, twitter, Wozzeck

This article has 10 comments

  1. Christopher e Holden responded on 1 November 2013 at 11:19am Reply

    Loved the performance at the royal opera house for wozzeck last night- Simon keenlyside and mark elder on top form to bring us the genius of berg!
    Wonderful staging too - I thought simon might have to do his curtain call in a bathrobe !

  2. Definitely one of the best operas I've seen at ROH. Marvellous mise-en-scène, brilliant cast (generous singing and acting), while Elder was superficial and the orchestra sometimes approximatively prepared.

  3. stephen ratcliffe responded on 6 November 2013 at 11:08am Reply

    Fantstic evening last night. Such a powerful piece performed superbly.

  4. John Rose responded on 9 November 2013 at 10:34am Reply

    A stunning opera...production...musical quality. Just 2 performances left. Thank you,Alban Berg. Hurry and get your tickets. A performance and work to remember!
    The only downside is that it highlights the poor productions of inferior works we've been lumbered with recently.(I refer specifically to production values).

  5. Philip Vallentin responded on 10 November 2013 at 10:53am Reply

    Have we all gone mad? Is high culture claiming some kind of blind moral code bereft of responsibility to children?? Since when is it ok to involve children in adult sex scenes?? I was appalled and remain baffled why there isn't an uproar from any party reviewing or discussing this production. How can we as a society be shocked by the all-too frequent stories of child abuse in the media and then cooly sit through this Wozzeck while the young boy is forced to endure yet another ROH simulated but explicit rape scene. Very very disappointing from a responsible parent/adult's perspective. It ruined a perfect production for me and I'm still seething a week later. People, where are your morals?

    • That is exactly what I thought. I was horrified to see a child actor witnessing that. It cannot be legal or in any way acceptable and was nothing less than child abuse. How can ROH justify that - or get away with it? Unlike you, I did not enjoy the rest of the production. Shitty story, horrible music, I bailed out before the end. I felt sorry for the wonderful singers having to perform it.

  6. David Glynn responded on 13 November 2013 at 1:15am Reply

    Did the producer not know that the Royal Opera House is a horseshoe-shaped theatre? Why was he allowed to place so much of the important action at the extreme left of the stage? Everything in the "room" was completely invisible to people like me seated round to the left. A great disappointment.

  7. steve howell responded on 13 November 2013 at 2:11pm Reply

    I loved the piece but can't help agreeing with Philip, although it wasn't a rape but a commercial transaction, intentionally brief, loveless and mechanical. I don't mind being made to feel uneasy in theatre and opera, that's one of the reasons I go, but not where children are concerned. There's no reason why the boy couldn't have been excluded from that one scene, although ever-present elsewhere. How has the scene been explained to him to make sure he isn't harmed in some way?

  8. Kasper Holten responded on 15 November 2013 at 9:05pm Reply

    Dear Philip, Judy and Steve

    I'm sorry to hear that you found the experience of watching Wozzeck to be a harrowing one.

    We feel that Alban Berg's opera, as realised by Keith Warner, though at times emotionally disturbing is an exhilarating and challenging piece of theatre. The role of a young child is integral to the action of the production and we approach all stages of casting and performance with a strong sense of our duty of care. We are aware what effect the exposure to its adult themes might have on a young impressionable mind, and take our responsibilities in that regard very seriously.

    At the casting stage, the content and staging of the opera are explained in detailed to the child's parents, and their express permission is obtained
    for their child to be involved.

    Throughout the rehearsal and performance process the child is supervised by a qualified chaperone, and their role is sensitively directed by an assistant director specifically allocated to the task.

    During the rehearsals the child will also, of course, have the opportunity to meet, and make friends with the cast. Seeing past the artifice we create on stage, coming to know them, not as the, perhaps frightening, characters they portray, but as the delightful people they are in real life.

    I hope that this reassures you about our approach to working with children.

    Best regards

    Kasper Holten
    Director of Opera

  9. geoff responded on 16 November 2013 at 12:18pm Reply

    Absolutely stunning production last night, Simon Keenlyside-Superb, What a cast, Stage sets magnificent, Mark Elder unbelievably brilliant, What an orchestra, so glad i caught this masterpiece, visual and sound excellent, R O H you certainly hit the heights with this Opera. Congratulations.

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