Contrary to what one might assume, this highly unusual production of Hector Berlioz's 1838 opera Benvenuto Cellini -- about the life and exploits of the notoriously bawdy 16th century sculptor Cellini -- resists a straightforward operatic account of its subject. Instead, set designer and stage director Philipp Stölzl creates a postmodern blend of Batman-esque fantasy, Metropolis-esque futurism, and Piranesi quotes displayed amid photomontages to relay its colorful story. The production stars Burkhard Fritz as the rake, Maija Kovalevska as Teresa, and Laurent Naouri as Fieramosca, as well as Brindley Sherratt as Giacomo Balducci. Valery Gergiev conducts the Wiener Philharmoniker orchestra, while Andreas Schüller serves as chorus master for the Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi
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