Achim Freyer continues to shake up opera world with 3-D 'Don Giovanni'
Whether you love him or hate him -- and he seems to inspire feelings only at both extremes -- German artist-director Achim Freyer is undeniably one of opera's most talked-about talents these days.
His Los Angeles Opera stagings of Wagner's "Das Rheingold" and "Die Walkure" this season have wowed critics, but many Culture Monster readers have had a serious bone to pick with his highly abstract (some would say highly obtuse) stagings.
Now Freyer is set to make waves yet again when France's Opera de Rennes broadcasts a revival of his production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" in 3-D. That's right: the medium long associated with B horror movies, kiddie flicks and rides at Epcot Center is now being applied toward the stratospheric heights of opera. The Rennes company is touting the project as the first of its kind in the opera world.
Freyer's production of "Don Giovanni" (for which he also designed the sets) is being revived with English baritone Stephen Gadd in the title role and conductor Antony Hermus on the podium.
The live broadcast, scheduled for June 2, will be viewable only at venues in Rennes and Paris, but those of us on other continents can still get in on some of the action via the Internet.
Two websites, ville-rennes.fr and francemusique.com, have scheduled webcasts of the June 2 performance, offering both sound and image (though only in 2-D, alas). The cable channel Mezzo, which is available in 39 countries, will also carry a 2-D broadcast of the performance.
For those of us in California, the webcasts on the aforementioned sites will begin at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 2.
-- David Ng
Photo: Achim Freyer at work on L.A. Opera's "Das Rheingold." Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times