Written October 31, 2013
The Nose is a bizarre, funny opera along the lines of an absurdist parable. To many viewers, they will leave hunching their shoulders afterwards and meh-ing their opinions, while others will concern themselves with defining the work as a shallow surrealist attempt or a vaguely profound statement on Stalinist oppression. The slapstick which abounds is more than over the top; it is over the railing and falling clear to the noisy, clueless spectators in the streets below; indeed, the opera succeeds on several levels, some of it perfectly visual and represented by the opening scene which take place in an upstairs barbershop, to an attic garret where lives Kovalyov, sung by Paulo Szot with sympathetic pathos , to a railing where people fleeing from some kind of repression mock the goings-on , the ludicrous intent of the writer and the gullibility of the audience. Also, there are four noses; the actual physical one of the lead official whose proboscis take a manual beating after continual
Written August 31, 2014
Outstanding visual design and production making striking use of the futurist art movement during the Stalin era.. Unusual opera and probably the best production of it you'll ever see. No soaring arias. very eccentric, but stunning. What you should expect from a marriage of Shostakovich and Gogol.
Written October 22, 2014
I have seen this opera twice before; the first production was awful and the second was via DVD. Kentridge's production is absolutely terrific. It honors Shostakovich's intent as a young composer; he is breaking into modernist thinking and represents Meyerhold's collage technique with aplumb!
The lead singers are spectacular, the chorus - outrageously lush, and the orchestra plays the colorations with great vitality.
See this in person or via the summer repeats!
Written September 22, 2014
I went with an open mind to see this opera, but what a disappointment! maybe I didn't get it, but I'm not singled out as part of the audience left before me and my friends looked at each other and called it quit.
The decor is fantastic, a lot of creativity and great imagination., but leave the music out!!! I fell asleep and woke up when the "pretzel" lady was screaming!!! I don't think I missed any of the plot at that point and we left before the end….
Written October 01, 2014
While I admired the singers for their enormous efforts, I couldn't help thinking that Gogol und Shostakovich were clearly both drunk over many years. G's piece by itself is delicious and subversive, but young S ruined it.
The set/production/Buehnenbild was gimmicky ad nauseam -- what is clever about wall-to-wall cyrillics and the obligatory "Russian" banalities ?
The kaleidoskopic score is the flavour of that post-revolutionary moment, every one of the fashionable xylophon-y etc. noisemakers trotted out, and en masse. The buzzing only subsided after 500 grams of Vodka.