A place, that is not any place, is hard to illustrate. Therefore, the Castle production, by keeping its core in abstraction, more than previous productions by Novoflot, really has arrived in theatrical concreteness. Not in the glittering trombone improvisations, nor in Ulrich Scheel’s live drawings at the computer, the audience can find enduring rest. So they adhere to the music of Schubert. But the adherence offered by Schubert’s music is delusive, and has always been. The one paying full attention, listening to piano player Saori Tomidokoro and the singers, will feel it more than ever before: the surprising reframed chords in a naturally purring melody. It seems clear, that the bourgeoisie must have built up a new illusion of inner home, the Biedermeier, where in Schubert’s “Lindenbaum” only the first verse matters, set for a home-admiring men’s choir.
Novoflot have created an opulence of images of almost baroque richness. Brilliant also, to understand the whole house from its most central point, the stage. Music sounds from the off, from adjoining room, when lolitas are alluring “this will be fun”, it rattles from behind “I can’t get no satisfaction”, the singing (solo or in a children’s choir) is sometimes accompanied by the music ensemble, then again by one of the many pianos – true surround sound with depth effect. The audience on the turning stage experiences the unsettledness of K. at its own body: in the middle of everything and yet without any hold. Nils Wogram, trombone soloist is a musical coup. Sometimes he is the fax sound pouring out of the phones, then he adds an avant-garde track to the Schubert arrangements, and later on his solo in all its complexity replaces the opera orchestra. In the finale he solos over a few Schubert-Lied-choruses, whose ending is his solo, with his trombone he blazes a trail through the “fourth wall” – and a door closes. The reviewer rubs his eyes in bewilderment: this was music theatre full of striking imagery – outstanding composition, an admirable unit and togetherness of music and image (not to forget: the stage pictures thrown onto different walls by projectors and live and to the point drawn by Ulrich Scheel.) In short: this is opera 2013 – the whole magic without illusion. If it would need a plea, why theatre venues are needed: here it is. Cinema is not capable of this.