Unsuk Chin's opera Alice in Wonderland delighted audiences and critics alike in Geneva - its second stage production.
Unsuk Chin’s fantasy-filled opera Alice in Wonderland received its second stage production at Geneva’s Grand Théâtre in June. The Orchestra de la Suisse Romande was conducted by Wen-Chin Chien, while the cast included Rachel Gilmore in the title role, Cyndia Sieden as the Cheshire Cat, Dietrich Henschel as the Mad Hatter, Andrew Watts as the White Rabbit and Karan Armstrong as the Queen of Hearts.
The production by Swedish director Mira Bartov offered a contrasting vision to the striking formalistic pageant created by Achim Freyer for the Munich world premiere as also seen on DVD (Unitel Classica 2072418). Le Temps described how Bartov’s airport lounge setting was “an airlock before the journey, a transitory space rich in possibilities.” A third production of Alice in Wonderland opens in Bielefeld on 8 May directed by Helen Malkowsky.
“With Unsuk Chin it is through the ear that one enters Wonderland… Across this sequence of frescos, sometimes sensual, often intuitive, she relates her fascination for Lewis Carroll and his absurd universe. This grand mosaic of forms and styles is happy to appear descriptive: Alice bites into the cake that makes you grow, and the orchestra unfurls enormous glissandi; a mouse splashes in the tears of the heroine, and the winds ripple as if drops of liquid.”
“The Swiss premiere of the first opera by Korean composer Unsuk Chin turns out to be pleasing both to the eye and the ear… it is a work of scenes and numbers connected by an orchestra that creates a highly illustrative musical universe. Everything in the work is there to underline the surrealist situations of the libretto. Expanded percussion, toy instruments – a musical saw, whistles, wind machine, swanee whistle, accordion – noises and sonic effects alternate with melodic passages, harmonic interjections and other emotional somersaults that ennoble the musical comedy.”
Tribune de Genève
“Unsuk Chin here turns a comic face to provide two amusing, entertaining and stimulating hours. Just as the heroine can no longer find a fixed point of perception, so does the music lead into a hall of mirrors in which one witty reminiscence leads to another… Moreover, Unsuk Chin doesn’t just content herself with making an artful concoction in the post-modern manner but rather stamps her own signature upon the work... This is new music theatre, but also top quality entertainment.”
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
> Further information on Work: Alice in Wonderland
Photo: Alice in Wonderland at the Grand Théâtre in Geneva (Yunus Durukan)
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