At the Musica Festival, big repertoire, small effect

Don Giovanni in Hell opened the 2023 edition of the Musica Festival at the Opéra du Rhin. Clara Beck

CRITICISM – Created from borrowings from composers of the past, the Don Giovanni in Hell by Simon Steen-Andersen turns into an exercise in fallacious style.

Special envoy to Strasbourg (Bas Rhin)

What makes a show that has everything to be fascinating turn out to be tedious? No doubt the feeling that astonishing means and talents have been put at the service of a project whose necessity we do not understand. As the curtain rises to the 2023 edition of the Musica Festival, a crucible of musical invention for forty years, the Rhine Opera product Don Giovanni in Hell, by Danish composer Simon Steen-Andersen. By composing, the latter means “putting together”. Whether it’s your own music or that of others. For his first lyrical commission, it will therefore be an opera of operas. We play the end of Don Giovanni. The singer (or is it the character?) is swallowed up in the trap, and we imagine what happens to him in the underworld, materialized by the backstage of the theater.

What follows is a montage (more than a collage) of infernal scenes taken from Monteverdi, Rameau, Gluck, Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Gounod, Puccini and many others, with…

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