A whole different musical
By Christel Voith
By the drama-musical “Matterhorn” stories are being told and messages send.
Actors, musicians and production team celebrated frenetically
St. Gallen. The premiere of the musical “Matterhorn” on Saturday at the Theater St. Gallen became a triumph for all participants. It is impressive when, after dying down of the last beat the whole auditorium in the sold out theater jumps up and celebrates the production team in the same way as the actors and musicians – well deserved, because the new drama-musical from out the head of successful author Michael Kunze is so totally different from the common success-musicals.
“We try to be musical-ambassadors of Switzerland” opera director Peter Heilker announced in advance. Productions like “The Count Of Monte Christo” or “Don Camillo and Peppone” are on triumph, carry out the name St. Gallen into the world, and “Matterhorn” is going to become a hit in the same way. St. Gallen wants to tell stories, send out messages, this time with a big swiss topic, and therefore the dramatic events around the first time ascent of the Matterhorn deliver a powerful outline.
As a composer world-hit songwriter Albert Hammond could be won. An “incredible experience” it was for him, to let his music to the drama work authentically, to show the emotions. In a mix of Pop, Rock, Rap, Hiphop and Classic he connects the happenings in 1865 with today.
Folksonglike the declaration of love for the citizens to their home is, hymnal the homage to Orka, the mystical character, impersonating the mountain (Sabrina Weckerlin), deeply touching the songs of the humpy Luc (Countertenor Luigi Schifano). Heroic and obsessed Oedo Kuipers as first ascender Edward Whymper dominates the scene. No warning, no affront can keep him off his ambitious goal: “I am still a nobody, but once I stand on top”. Hi will stand on thop, however the decent becomes a catastrophe, four of the rope team fall to death. He is the one to blame, he is down, but the loving Olivia, wonderfully outlined by Lisa Antoni raises him up: “ A true hero proves himself by living on”. He has to recognize that not the love for the mountain lead him up, but his hunger for fame.
Excellently casted are also the other singers, thrilling is the musical implementation by the “Matterhorn-Band” conducted by Bernd Steixner. Like the music, that comes close to the opera, carries the story, the Indian film director Shekhar Kapur, staging a musical for the first time, sets on telling stories: in silent chamber scenes, in thrilling folk-scenes, choreographed by Jonathan Huor and in big show. Congenial is the interaction of the slanting stage set along with a small revolving stage (Peter J. Davison) with the video sequences, which following Edward Whympers own drawings create rooms and set the fall into rushing picture-shreds, and the moody light direction by Michael Grundner. Franz Blumauer`s costumes lead into the time of the happenings: following historical traditional costumes as well as -even for today`s eyes, the ascent in street-clothing. Altogether a synthesis of the arts, that overwhelms and fascinates with its tremendous abundance.