Jan 08

Czar and CarpenterZar und Zimmerman, by Albert Lortzing, performed by Hamburg State Opera, starring Hans Sotin, Lucia Popp ????

I’ve never seen nor heard this opera before, but apparently it is quite popular in Germany. The title means the Czar and the Carpenter, based very loosely on the historical Peter the Great while living in Holland. This is a playful opera, with quite simple music, used in a delightfully extraordinary manner. The performance of Lucia Popp is absolutely extraordinary, with superb acting complementing a most beautiful gentle voice. The plot of the opera is comic, with confused identities, resolving in an expectable sort of way. The opera is sung in German, but the under-titles are fairly accurate in translation. I’m told that Wagner was heavily influenced by this piece written in 1837, and I’m not surprised. Recommended for viewing.

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