STAGENina von Essen
COSTUMEJulia Rösler
DRAMATURGYDominica Volkert
CHOIRBernhard Moncado
WITH:Luis Chapa
Christina Vasileva
Juan Orozco
Roberto Gionfriddo
Sang Hee Kim/Anja Jung
Christoph Waltle
Jin Seok Lee
Larry Minth
Choir and Extra-Choir of the theatre Freiburg
Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg

“(…) an incredibly exciting production. The strange ‘worldlessness’ of the scene corresponds to the delusionally narrowed perception of the jealous Otello, and the compulsiveness of the events is stringently developed from this.

(…) what Eva-Maria Höckmayr stages with the high tension of a psychological thriller and frightening physicality is basically an everyday relationship catastrophe: The man’s delusional jealousy, his increasingly immoderate attacks of violence – and the woman who is completely absorbed in the victim role assigned to her, seeking to save the relationship, and defending the man’s actions until she herself falls victim to him. That this relationship pattern and the role clichés on which it is based are still current: All it takes to know this is a daily glance at the newspaper.

Otello is white in this production. His feeling of inferiority has no discernible cause, but motivates his actions from the very beginning. (…) This darkening of his soul then also manifests itself externally: it first makes him a social outsider, a “Moor”, whose face then also becomes blacker from act to act. Incidentally, this is not really about skin colour either, but about the assignment of a role cliché: this is made clear by the very exaggerated, “unnatural” make-up mask.

The director brings Otello’s inner demons onto the stage: angels of death in glittering black ball gowns, black faces, bright red lips, long blond hair, who accompany Otello, blocking his view of reality; and the more he deals with them, the more their blackness rubs off on him. They are distortions and counter-images of the desired, which appears in the form of a whole phalanx of brides: with the same blond hair, lined up in white dresses like mannequins – a nightmare of styled, dressed-up femininity. (…)

Projections, role attributions, social positions: That’s what it’s about. On Nina von Essen’s constantly rotating stage with its transparent glass boxes, everyone observes each other: who stands where, in relation to whom? And again and again the reflecting panes confront them with their own image.

What all this could have to do with us and the society in which we live: The performance gives enough hints about this without getting involved in the actualizing concretion. The performance is precisely worked out and thus develops a powerful pull (…) In the end, it was a deserved, triumphant success for the Freiburg theatre in its 100th anniversary year for all involved.”

Deutschlandfunk Music Journal,18.04.11,Ingo Dorfmüller

“Eva-Maria Höckmayr, winner of the Götz Friedrich Opera Direction Prize 2010, turns Boito’s and Verdi’s Shakspeare adaptation into a pitch-black psychological thriller that penetrates deep into the soul of the actors. (…) Evil multiplies itself in Otello’s head – Iago only plants the seed. (…) This is immensely exciting, staged on the powerfully demanded revolving stage, which henceforth changes the perspectives and angles of view, just like Verdi’s music. Because this can also be said about this production: It shows an ideal interplay of scene and music, subtle, profoundly sophisticated and vivid direction of the characters.”

Opernwelt, June 2011, Alexander Dick

“It is expressionistic, uncanny images that Eva-Maria Höckmayr finds for Otello’s pathological jealousy. (…) This “Otello” is the strongest opera production of the Freiburg season so far. Go there!”

Kultiversum Recommendation,28.04.2011, Georg Rudiger

“Höckmayr’s sharply observant direction (…) brings the perfidiously planned psychology as well as physical execution of an already endangered human being to the point. (…) The most beautiful thing about this enduringly celebrated evening is how the scene and pit fertilises each other, and how musical theater actually happens here.”

Badische Zeitung, 18.4.2011, Heinz W.Koch

“The director has listened carefully to the libretto, has psychologically deepened Arrigo Boito’s three character studies and translated their interconnectedness through inner contrasts into an eye-catching central image: a revolving cabinet of reflections in which Otello loses his clear mind. (…) Jubilant applause.”

Südkurier, 18.4.2011, Siegbert Kopp