Where even the ceiling looks like an (Intrepid Class) spaceship ready to take off at warp speed: one of my favorite halls, the Staatsoper Stuttgart.
It has been a while since I have had the chance to travel to Stuttgart for opera (for a while, I had close ties close by, and of course there was some pilgrimaging involved when Naglestad was still a fixture in the ensemble cast), so when an old acquaintance called last week and said, “I’ve got a spare ticket for the Stuttgart “Ariodante”, can you take a day or two off to come over?”, I replied, “Absolutely not”, and then immediately booked my passage.
Despite snowstorm warnings, there was sunshine in front of the opera house when I arrived, the emblematic fountain was on, and I had time for a walk below the blossoming chestnut trees and for a quick detour across the castle square with rows upon rows of yellow tulips. And I remembered walking there nearly twenty years ago, at such a different place in life.
The first time I traveled to Stuttgart for the opera, it was to catch “Alcina” live (yes, the “Alcina”). Now, nearing the end of Wieler’s Stuttgart leadership, it was his and Morabito’s “Ariodante” (review in the works) that had me return.
Enough time had passed that I had forgotten about some of the house details. – You know what German and Austrian (and probably also some other) opera houses need more of? Memorial plaques like this one:
I like that this one details biographies across class gaps, from the former intendant (who survived in Germany) to the stageworker and the usher, whose fates (and the class gap does play into this, I wager) are unknown.
Many major companies could do with some more memorial culture.
And finally, and returning to the issue of an intriguing and intense “Ariodante”: We need to talk about Diana, dear White Shirts. We need to talk about Diana.