The twenty-second summer production of the Opera Academy in Bad Orb was of Così fan tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).
The title means roughly "That's what they (feminine) all do."
One of the characters, the "old philosopher" Don Alfonso, sets out to prove that all women will be unfaithful to their husbands or fiancés if given the chance. Whether or not he has proved this at the end is a matter of debate -- and has been since 1790, which is when Mozart composed this brilliant opera to a text by Lorenzo da Ponte.
On the one hand it is true that the two young women, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, have each been seduced by the other's boyfriend -- but this took such a high degree of persuasion that it doesn't necessarily prove anything.
In Carlos Krause's Bad Orb production Don Alfonso certainly thinks he has proved it. The last scene shows him sitting at a table center stage, grinning triumphantly and pouring himself a glass of champagne, while the two men and two women of his experiment drift off in anguish to the four corners of the stage -- an unusually malicious ending!
Second photo: The Così fan tutte team: singers, stage director, orchestra conductor, set designer and chorus.
Update: Another new production of Mozart's Così fan tutte took place in the summer of 2011 in the courtyard of Weikersheim Castle.
The performances of the Opera Academy are held here in the Concert Hall in Bad Orb's Kurpark.
The rest of the year concerts and plays are given here for the entertainment of the people who are here on the Kur, to "take the waters".
What’s so bad about a town like Bad Orb? Click on the link below to find out.
The twenty-fourth summer production of the Opera Academy in Bad Orb was Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).
Don Giovanni was the eighteenth of Mozart's twenty-one operas, composed in 1787 when he was thirty-one years old, four years before his death.
The libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749-1838) is the story of a Spanish nobleman (Don Juan in Spanish), who claimed to have seduced hundreds of women: 640 in Italy, 520 in France, 200 in Germany, and 1003 in Spain.
We learn these exact numbers in the opera because Leporello, his servant, sings them in his famous register aria in the first act.
This is also the final count, because in the opera itself not a single attempt is successful, and at the end Don Giovanni dies, unrepentant.
The twenty-third summer production of the Opera Academy in Bad Orb was the very popular operetta Die Fledermaus (The Bat) by Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899).
Carlos Krause not only did the stage direction, but also played the funny speaking role of Frosch, the prison warden, in the third act.
The photo shows Carlos Krause with Michael Millard, the orchestra conductor and musical director of the Opera Academy. The woman clapping on the left is the contralto Susanne Spahn, who sang the role of Ida in the operetta.
This wooden framework is 155 meters long and was first built in 1806 for the purpose of extracting salt from the salty spring water of Bad Orb.
Inside the framework, under the roof, there are two huge walls of tightly packed Black Thorn branches. Space is left for people to walk along the sides and down the middle.
Salty spring water is pumped up to the top and allowed to trickle down through the thorn branches. Impurities solidify on the thorns, some of the water evaporates, and a concentrated salty liquid collects at the bottom.
Nowadays there are more efficient ways of producing salt, but the Gradierwerk (one of ten that once existed in Bad Orb) has been preserved so the Kur guests can walk through and inhale the cool salty air, as though they were on the coast of the North Sea.
If you've never seen one of these, you really should go in and have a walk through (and inhale deeply, it'll do you good), even if you have to pay a small fee to get into the Kurpark.
Update: As of August 2009 the Thorn House is gradually being repaired, one section at a time, so it isn't actually in operation at present, but you can still see how it works.
The Opera Academy in Bad Orb is intended as a showcase for young singers at the beginning of their careers. Every year fifty to sixty young singers come to auditions, and those who are chosen get the opportunity to rehearse and perform an opera in Bad Orb under the direction of retired opera singer Carlos Krause.
Krause does the staging himself, and his productions are unabashedly conventional. He says young singers should have the opportunity to be in an old-fashioned no-frills production at least once in their lives, since they will be in modern productions often enough if they start singing on the stages of German opera houses.
Though the singers are young professionals, the orchestra and chorus are recruited locally, which guarantees that all the local residents will be interested in what is going on, since everybody you meet in Bad Orb seems to have a sister-in-law or somebody who is in the chorus.
They generally only do two performances a year, on a Friday and a Sunday in August, but as these are nearly always sold out they have started opening up the dress rehearsals to the local people so they can see their friends and relatives on stage. The performances are all in German.
In 2004 the regional television station Hessenfernsehen did daily reports from Bad Orb the entire week before the premiere, in the form of a tongue-in-cheek "soap opera" about the rehearsals for Tiefland. They were also there to film a report on the premiere itself, as seen in the photo.
The twenty-first production of the Bad Orb Opera Academy was Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848).
This comic opera is about a wealthy elderly bachelor who marries a beautiful young woman, or thinks he does, but soon regrets it and is glad to be rid of her.
The Bad Orb production was in German, not the original Italian, and featured young singers from four countries: Dominik Rieger from Austria as Don Pasquale (on the left in the first photo), Hannah Morrison from Scotland as Norina, Bohyeon Mun from South Korea as Ernesto and Patrick Pobeschin from Germany as Doctor Malatesta. Stage director Carlos Krause himself played and sang the small part of the phony notary public who pretends to marry Don Pasquale and Norina.
Second photo: Here are the singers and some of the chorus members with Carlos Krause (on the right) and set designer Johannes Tittel (on the left).