BWW Review: Haydn's CREATION with La Fura dels Baus at Mostly Mozart--I'd date it but I'm not ready to marry it

BWW Review: Haydn's CREATION with La Fura dels Baus at Mostly Mozart--I'd date it but I'm not ready to marry it

BWW Review: Haydn's CREATION with La Fura dels Baus at Mostly Mozart--I'd date it but I'm not ready to marry it
Soprano Christina Landshamer
Photo credit: Stephanie Berger

With today's society in constant need of visual stimulus, staging oratorio repertoire has become increasingly necessary. Gone are the days where a chorus can stand solemnly still in their tuxes and black dresses, holding their binders at hip height, while soloists sit downstage in bedazzled gowns and teased out hair. At least the days are gone when this would attract a young, fresh audience. To their credit, La Fura dels Baus seems to understand this and executed a visual feast of an evening--akin to a cracked out Ferngully--stumbling only when attempting to drive home the message of their concept. They had a lot to say--but I wasn't exactly sure what it was...

BWW Review: Haydn's CREATION with La Fura dels Baus at Mostly Mozart--I'd date it but I'm not ready to marry it
Left to right: bass-baritone Thomas Tatzl, soprano Christina Landshamer,
and tenor Robin Tritschler
Photo credit: Stephanie Berger

There were snippets of text projected throughout the performance that led to a final chorus line of iPads spelling out the phrase, "Our thirst for life is infinite," which, in theory, seems like a perfectly congruous message for Haydn's Creation--but the production didn't take me there. Their message ambled, teleporting me abruptly in the final moments of the piece--leaving me wanting more. I was disappointed because the concept captivated me from the beginning and I was more than willing to go on a journey with them--but instead of leading me, they teased me with the tip all night and never got me where I needed to be. In the end, I was left high and dry...and confused. If the intention was to piece the message together, not revealing their ultimate statement until the end, great! But that's not what I experienced. I wish I had, because I truly enjoyed myself--but with their message lacking a firm rooting, I didn't feel as fulfilled as I could or should have.

BWW Review: Haydn's CREATION with La Fura dels Baus at Mostly Mozart--I'd date it but I'm not ready to marry it
Tenor Robin Tritschler and members of Accentus Choir
Photo credit: Stephanie Berger

This complex vision provided myriad obstacles for the singers who handled them with determined professionalism. Christina Landshamer's warm, focused soprano soared effortlessly whether she was lifted into the air or standing chest deep in a tank of water. Speaking of water, mad props to Thomas Tatzl's near water ballet that took place while he was singing some fiendishly tricky Haydn. And Robin Tritschler was a breath of fresh air every time his silky-smooth tenor poured from his mouth. They were supported by an evenly matched chorus, though their iPad-ography left something to be desired.

BWW Review: Haydn's CREATION with La Fura dels Baus at Mostly Mozart--I'd date it but I'm not ready to marry it
Members of Accentus Choir
Photo credit: Stephanie Berger

In the end, the performance was visually engaging and a trend I hope more companies continue to employ when presenting oratorio repertoire. I'd go on a second date with this production, but I'm not ready for a long-term commitment...

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Cole Grissom Cole Grissom is a writer, singer, and unapologetically bold managing editor for BWWorld's Classical Music vertical.