George Enescu: Oedipe
Esa Ruuttunen (09/5) and Stefan Ignat (09/9) (Oedipe), Gabriela Dragusin (Jocaste), Ecaterina Tutu (Sphinx), Iordache Basalic (Créon), Pompeiu Harasteanu (Phorbas), Horia Sandu (Tirésias), Mihai Lazar (Thésée), Mihnea Lamatic (Watchman), Florin Diaconescu (Shepherd), Simonida Lutescu (Antigone), Adriana Alexandru (Mérope), Stefan Schuller (Grand Priest), Gabriel Nastase (Laïos), Francisc Valkay (The Old Blind Man)
Orchestra and Chorus of the Bucharest National Opera (chorus master Stelian Olariu), Michael Boder (conductor).
Petrika Ionesco (director and sets), Catalin Ionescu-Arbore (costumes)
The super-production of Oedipe was presented at the Bucharest National Opera House; a two years old staging signed by Petrika Ionesco (director and set designer) who has consolidated the Regie-Theater concept in the history of Enescu’s masterpiece. The abundance and diversity of levels, the monumentality and kynetics of the sets, the symbols and the complex acting – modern but combined with antique like gestures – have attracted once more the audience. Conceptually speaking, the pleonasm remains a difficult to accept theme for the XXI century audience's perception. Ionesco is using it, forgetting the surtitles which help translating from the original sung French language. Leaving apart the pyrotechnic effects from the Coronation scene (a sort of Michael Jackson show) the performance is effervescent and attractive. The message of defying one's destiny is well understood and Enescu’s music floods the soul. (I have admired once more the exquisite costumes by Catalin Ionescu-Arbore).
For the title role, Finnish baritone Esa Ruuttunen is, together with the Romanian baritone Stefan Ignat, one of the two performers of Enescu’s score at this very moment. Not only in Bucharest. Both deeply feel the special character of the work, their declamation is impressive, in the condition that they do not use vocally steely accents, underlining the human dimension of the hero on his tragic path.
Michael Boder's baton securely mobilized the forces of the Bucharest National Opera. With unspectacular (but efficient) gestures, his conducting could not be cathegorized as routine. His sobriety in style and the concentration over Enescu’s dramatic pages are undoubtedly remarkable.