Gisela May, German singer, actress dies


This video series is about singer and actress Gisela May.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Actress, singer and Brecht interpreter Gisela May dies

Today, 19:35

In Berlin, the legendary German actress and singer Gisela May has died.

May built a huge reputation for her roles in the plays of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. Especially her leading role in Brecht’s Mother Courage and her children was a great success: May played that for fourteen years, from 1978 to 1992. Also her role in Mahagonny by Weil set the standard in Germany. She was until 1992 a member of the East German Berliner Ensemble.

Solo performances brought May successes as well, not only in Germany, she performed, eg, at Carnegie Hall in New York City and at the Scala in Milan.

On television, she was known as Muddi in the series Adelheid und ihre Mörder.

Gisela May in recent years lived in retirement. She was 92 years old.

Actress Glenda Jackson in Shakespeare’s King Lear


This video from England says about itself:

27 October 2016

Glenda Jackson and Antony Sher both play Shakespeare‘s King Lear this winter in London. The only question is which one you’ll see first!

By Gillian Piggott in Britain:

Thursday 17th November 2016

GILLIAN PIGGOTT sees Glenda Jackson give one of the great tragic performances in a flawed production of King Lear

King Lear
Old Vic, London SE1
3/5

IN THIS King Lear, Glenda Jackson makes a storming return to the theatre after more than two decades in British politics and her monumental performance shows just how much politics’ gain has been the stage’s loss.

Lear is the perfect choice for the wiry Jackson, whose elderly body, beautiful and androgynous, fascinates. The question of a female playing a fading old man does not even arise. She completely inhabits the role.

Jackson’s greatest asset always was, and still is, her mellifluous voice and meticulous articulation. That vocal range, moving effortlessly from gentle lower register to harsh higher notes paints Lear’s journey in bright colours and affords us the chance to relish the poetry.

But while Jackson’s performance will go down as one of the great Lears, director Deborah Warner’s uneven interpretation of the play as a domestic tragedy about the indignities and injustices of old age downplays the epic dimension and political context and fails to support Jackson’s marvellous work.

Surprisingly, Warner appears not to trust the material, seeking instead to import contemporary references at every turn.

While Jackson’s androgyny reflects the current interest in gender fluidity, clunky gimmicks such as setting the play in a rehearsal room or actors simulating masturbation and copulation are distractions.

And it’s difficult to take in the wonderful “stand up for bastards” speech by Edmund (Simon Manyonda) if it is delivered while he is working out.

Celia Imrie and Jane Horrocks are good as Goneril and Regan and the sado-masochistic relationship between the latter and Cornwall (Danny Webb) works as a reading.

But no effort is made to make a case for the sisters’ cruelty and their “filial ingratitude,” lessening the dramatic texture of the characters and the play. Rhys Ifans, genuinely funny, is a fine fool.

But some of the younger cast members, far less convincing, are “severely o’erparted,” an instance being Morfydd Clark. Her excessively emotional interpretation of Cordelia renders her delivery inaudible.

Runs until December 3, box office: oldvictheatre.com.

Mozart in London theatre, historically correct?


This video says about itself:

Long-Lost Mozart Score Performed For First Time By Czech Musician

16 February 2016

After a musicologist discovered the piece in the reserve collection of the Czech national music museum, a long-lost composition by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri was performed for the first time on Tuesday.

The piece also appears to show the rivalry between the two was not especially fierce. It provides more evidence that Salieri played no role in Mozart’s death in 1791 at the age of 35. The play and Oscar-winning film “Amadeus” detailed such a murderous rivalry.

The collaborative score was written in 1785. That was during one of the most fruitful periods of Mozart’s career. He composed some of his best-known pieces then, including the operas “Don Giovanni” and “The Magic Flute.”

Ulrich Leisinger, director of research at the Mozarteum Foundation Salzburg, said, “Salieri did not poison Mozart, but they both worked in Vienna and were competitors.”

Museum officials said, the piece, titled “Per la Ricuperata Salute di Ofelia” (“For the recovered health of Ophelia”), was written to celebrate the recovery of an English singer who had performed pieces by Mozart and Salieri. They said it is unclear whether it was ever performed in public before today.

See also here.

By Yvonne Lysandrou in Britain:

Discordant notes in Mozart portrait

Tuesday 8th November 2016

Amadeus
National Theatre
3/5

IT SEEMS as if the popularity of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, which returns to the National Theatre after its triumphant premiere in 1979, has not waned. It’s already sold out until next year, although there will be live cinema screenings in February.

Over the decades, audiences have been drawn to Shaffer’s reimagining of the fractious relationship between Antonio Salieri, successful Italian composer of the Austrian court, and the wunderkind Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

His recent arrival in Vienna invokes Salieri’s tortured awareness of his own mediocrity and, apart from falterings in the play’s long opening, the verbal dexterity of Lucian Msamati as the Italian composer is impressive throughout, providing a balanced and often poignant interpretation of the conflicted musician.

The most striking feature of the production is the presence onstage of the 20-piece Southbank Sinfonia and they deliver an evocative and heightened theatrical moment, playing the various pages of Mozart’s music as they fall from the hands of the astonished and anguished Salieri.

Yet Shaffer’s portrait of Mozart (Adam Gillen) in Michael Longhurst’s production seems entirely based on the scatological letters he often wrote to his friends and family. Certainly that stark contrast between a lively, vulgar young man and the sublimity of his music intrigues but here his genius comes across as completely inexplicable.

Gillen, with simian gait, tells fart jokes accompanied by hyena laughs throughout and he’d do well to heed the advice of the original production’s director Peter Hall. “You have to make me believe you wrote that music,” he asked of Simon Callow, who played Mozart. No such caution is evident from Longhurst.

While we don’t necessarily expect historical veracity from playwrights, the fact that Salieri was a respected musician, Mozart was hardworking and his wife Constanze was not the strumpet portrayed by Karla Crome but a trained musician, does not in itself make for a great story.

But a more subtle interpretation of the relationship between Salieri and Mozart would add a great deal more interest and complexity to the overly polarised characterisations on show here.

Runs until February 1, box office: nationaltheatre.org.uk.

Italian playwright Dario Fo, RIP


In this 1997 Italian video, playwright Dario Fo is interviewed in a car by Ambra Angiolini. Ms Angiolini then tells Fo the news that he has won the Nobel Prize for literature.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Italian Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo deceased

The Italian theater director, playwright and actor Dario Fo who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997, has died at the age of 90. …

The author wrote much of his work together with his wife Franca Rame. The Nobel Prize which he received in 1997, he called “our prize”. …

Fo based himself in his work on the Italian Commedia dell’arte, improvisational comedy mocking authorities. In his work he mocked popes, politicians and the Mafia.

He was indicted more than forty times for insult or defamation, and was arrested several times on stage. Because of his political activities he was not allowed in the United States and was censored for a long time by Italian television broadcasters.

Dario Fo’s plays in Belgium: here.

Dutch play on Norwegian racist terrorist Breivik


This 21 July 2016 Dutch video, about a new theatre play on racist extreme right Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, shows a clip of Dutch TV news of 22 July 2011 on Breivik’s terrrorist attacks, about which at that moment the TV did not know yet they were by Breivik.

The name of the play is Dorst; Thirst.

The play is on 30 and 31 August 2016 in Zutphen in the Netherlands. Young director Jelle van der Meulen wrote it, as his final work at theatre school.

Dutch NOS TV writes about it today (translated):

The presentation shows how Breivik is evolving towards his actions for years and how he prepares the attacks in seclusion. …

In the attacks in the summer of 2011 77 people were murdered. The fascination which Van der Meulen felt for this outrage was mainly fueled by the killed youths on Utøya being of his age. Added to that, he felt politically allied with the youth wing of the Norwegian Labour Party, which had a summer camp on the island at that time. …

“And then I also have a connection with Norway because we always used to go on holiday there,” said Van der Meulen. “Norway was heaven on earth and then especially there something so bad happens.”

Van der Meulen intensively studied the person Breivik three years after the attacks. …

Van der Meulen wants to show in the play that Breivik was not acting impulsively, but that he evolved gradually towards his actions. “He was not someone who suddenly grabbed a weapon and started shooting at random, as ‘militia’ men do in American schools. That makes it so horrible, because with people like Breivik you do not notice what they intend to do.”