Love for Three Oranges: A Classic Reading

GermanyGermany Prokofiev: The Love for Three Oranges, Komische Oper Orchestra and Chorus, Mikhel Kütson (conductor), Berlin Komische Oper, 24.1.2014 (JMI)


Love for Three Oranges (c) Monika Rittershaus
Love for Three Oranges (c) Monika Rittershaus

Prince: Mirko Roschkowski
Princess Ninetta: Mirka Wagner
Fata Morgana: Annette Seiltgen
Truffaldino: Peter Renz
King: Carsten Sabrowski
Tchelio: Philipp Meierhöfer
Leander: Horst Lamnek
Princess Clarice: Caren Van Oijen
Cook: Hans Peter Scheidegger
Smeraldine: Karolina Gumos
Pantalone: Dominik Könninger
Farfarello: Bernhard Hansky
Production: Berlin Komische Oper
Direction: Andreas Homoki
Sets: Frank Philipp Schlössmann
Costumes: Mechtchild Seipel
Lighting: Franck Evin

It is always a pleasure to attend a performance of this opera, a fairy tale accompanied by great music. This particular performance was good, although the singing left something to be desired. 

Andreas Homoki’s production has become a classic in this theater, and has traveled successfully to theaters in other countries. The production is colorful and attractive,  and narrates the tale with humor and imagination. The props include large story books, oranges and some animals, and funny costumes and good lighting complement the attractive staging. The direction works really well, particularly with regard to the movements of the choir. All the characters are fine, and the result is a fun and unpretentious show.

The musical direction by Mikhel Kütson was strong. He offered a good pace and a sense of humor, allowing the score to shine. At times there was some excess of volume coming from the pit, especially considering the size of the voices on stage, but overall it was a good performance from the orchestra and an excellent one from the choir.

The large cast of this opera requires special acting skills from the soloists, and all proved that they were very familiar with the production. Vocally, it was a rather mixed result.

Among the positive performances I would include tenor Mirko Roschkowski as the Prince; he has a pleasant voice, though reduced in size. Soprano Mirka Wagner as Princess Ninetta left a very good impression and was the most interesting singer on stage. Annette Seiltgen was well-suited as Fata Morgana, and I also liked  Karolina  Gumos as Smeraldine and Caren Van Oijen in the part of the evil Princess Clarice.

Tenor Peter Renz sang Truffaldino, but his voice does not go beyond that of a comprimario. Philipp Meierhofer was a modest Tchelio, which also applies to Carsten Sabrowski as King of Clubs. Bernhard Hansky was a well-suited Farfarello.

The least interesting group consisted of  Horst Lamnek as Prime Minister Leander, Dominik Köninger as Pantalone and Hans-Peter Scheidegger as the Cook (who should be a real bass, which was not the case here).

The Komische Oper was at about 90% of capacity, and in the audicence there were many children, whose behavior was certainly exemplary during the performance. There was a warm reception for the artists, but no one was particularly cheered.

José Mª. Irurzun