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Reduced version of Mieczysław Weinberg's opera “Congratulations!” in Düsseldorf

Hochgeladene Datei

On 29 October 2020 Mieczysław Weinberg’s opera "Congratulations!” is to be premiered at the Deutschen Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf. Due to the corona crisis, a reduced version will be performed, which Henry Koch prepared for the Konzerthaus Berlin in 2012. Philipp Westerbarkei is responsible for the production, with Ralf Lange as its musical director.  

Weinberg's enigmatic and cheerful opera “Congratulations!” was composed between 1975 and 1982 and is set in the household of a rich Jewish lady in Odessa at the turn of the century before last. The young Belya is busy in the kitchen preparing a festive dinner for the imminent engagement of the house’s daughter. The widowed cook laments her arduous work and lonely life without a man. The book lender appears with new books, and Belya gives him food and drink. While he is eating and drinking, the cook entrusts him with the latest gossip about her masters. The bookseller becomes more talkative and inquisitive with every glass he empties.

First, he praises his socialist books, and shortly afterwards suggests to Belya that, in view of her savings, she form a capital community with him. Chaim, the neighbour’s servant, joins in and starts ranting about his masters. Finally, the maid Fradl, a witty ditty on her lips, appears in the kitchen. Chaim, who had initially hidden himself from her, bursts out and begins to flirt violently with the maid. Boisterous revelling and drinking ensue, and when the mood reaches its climax, Belya and the book lender decide to quit their service and get engaged. In high spirits, the book lender reads particularly beautiful passages from the books he has brought with him. Inspired by the newly engaged couple’s love affair, Chaim suggests a hen party and then spontaneously proposes marriage to Fradl, who after initial resistance finally accepts. When the landlady appears and wants to put a stop to the joyful singing and joking, the kitchen staff rehearses the rebellion ... 

29.10.2020 
Düsseldorf (Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf) 
Premiere. Mieczyslaw Weinberg, 
Opera “Congratulations!” (German) 
(edited version by Henry Koch) 
Musical director: Ralf Lange 
Staging: Philipp Westerbarkei 
Cast: 
Fradl, maid: Lavinia Dames 
Belya, the cook: Kimberley Boettger-Soller 
Madame, your hostess: Sylvia Hamvasi 
Chaim, servant: Jorge Espino 
Reb Alter: the flying bookseller: Norbert Ernst 
Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra 

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