A new Handel pastiche opened in Zurich recently — Sale, directed by Christoph Marthaler. Anne Sofie von Otter plays the matriarch of a family of the department store owners that have seen better days. In between singing melancholy, drunken or entranced arias, duos and trios, they get visited by the last herds of shoppers. German and Swiss media have reviewed Sale widely (here, here and here are good samples), and the only English-language review so far is by the Financial Times, which ends with an absolute pearl. Here:
In a sudden, Handelian happy ending the family is called to dinner. Plates and glasses are a direct reference to the opulent premiere parties of Homoki’s predecessor, Alexander Pereira. But Marthaler steers shy of direct attack. The Zurich opera would be a dangerous place for an all-out criticism of capitalism. A pity – it could have been fun.
…Writes the Financial Times of all media. Which leaves me scratching my head. When the FT art reviews bemoan directorial decisions as not anti-capitalist enough, I can’t make up my mind if this is good or if the anti-capitalist critique in the performing arts is so easily cooptable and ‘fun’ that even the FT embraces it.
Some beautifully creepy photos by Toni Suter and Tanja Dorendorf, with a video trailer at the bottom.