A director who spent years as a set-designer; a young playwright better known for his translations(Pulp Fiction, etc.); a composer who is actually a gallery owner. Michael Simon, Christoph Schünke and Achim Kubinski have transformed Puccini's opera Victorien Sardous Tosca into a theater piece for the Vienna Burgtheater. The play, which premiered April 4th, will continue as long as tickets sales allow.
Tosca, Rome, 1800-- Simon's production goes beyond a historical treatment, experimenting through speech, music, and the use of anecdotal references to film(the axe from The Shining, the inhalor, in this case a shoe, from Blue Velvet). Absurd word-plays between Angelotti and his sister and stuttering, phony-revolutionary confessions turn political content into childs' play. The ironic exaggeration through which the Roman police-chief Scarpia's admiration for Tosca is shown to be false is almost too much, although Fritz Schediwy's incredible performance merits special mention. Achim Kubinski's music, which consists primarily of Puccini and references to Puccini, contrasts the exaggerated emotions and schmalz with blues and jazz rhythms which bridge the piece's abrupt jumps between speech and action. The audience gave the music at the end of the first act a special round of applause.
The director spent years as a set-designer with Forsythe in Frankfurt, whose choreographic use of props can be seen in Simon's direction. In the 70's he attended Kubinski's myth-surrounded private art-school in Stuttgart, the influence of which may be seen in the set's sculpturistic, minimalist design. Simon and Kubinski are already planning another project together, which they will soon produce in Bonn.
Sabine B. Vogel
(translated by Ryan Deussing)
From Blitz Review, The Thing Vienna