World Premiere of the opera The Passenger at Bregenzer Festspiele 2010
Praise for The Passenger:
Süddeutsche Zeitung, July 23, 2010 by Egbert Tholl
What a find! The Bregenzer Festspiele [...] discovers a 24-year-old opera of grandiose power, sweep and completely unique beauty and brings it to the stage in truly consummate manner. This music is present every single second, always eloquent, but never superficially sensational; it is subtle, just like Weinberg's purely instrumental music. This opera is a masterpiece. And David Pountney bows before it.
Financial Times, July 27, 2010 by Shirley Apthorp
A forgotten opera about the Holocaust, penned by protagonists who experienced its horrors, is the astonishing find of this year's Bregenz Festival
Told largely from the perspective of perpetrator Lisa, an SS officer at Auschwitz, it is a tale of guilt and denial, of victim and oppressor, lies and truth, of fear, courage and love. As the production shifts from past to present, Johan Engels' set moves us between the white upper deck of the cruise ship on which Lisa re-encounters former prisoner Martha to the grey horrors of Auschwitz below. They are images we know, but Pountney and his team steer just clear of pathos, helped by Weinberg's ineluctable music and a superb cast. Weinberg's opera is superbly crafted. Weinberg quotes effortlessly from Russian and Polish sacred music, jazz, Johann Strauss and Bach, borrowing descriptive elements to serve a story told with awful clarity.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, July 23, 2010 by Eleonore Büning
Magnificent, Riveting: Mieczyslaw Weinberg's opera The Passenger about an Auschwitz survivor is triumphantly rediscovered at the Bregenzer Festspiele.
The vocal parts were created to be sung, if not always rhythmically easy. The piece is strictly through-constructed, the rapid succession of short scenes generates a forward drive. And although it noisily kicks off with an attack of the percussion battery in quintuplets and triplets, the quiet and economy of a chamber piece prevails quite unexpectedly. Unbearably beautiful are the ensemble scenes in the camp, when the women dream of a better life. [...] It is a masterpiece.