Travelling to the South Pole while in Munich: “South Pole”, Miroslav Srnka, Munich Opera Festival, July 5th, 2016

The evening after return from the South Pole left me in split feelings reconsidering preferences and future choices, – are my expectations correctly set when planning to attend modern opera production? This was time and again when internal contradiction raised question either I need to find sources to learn more or just give more chance to a modern form of the art in the future while planning my exploration schedule?

What is unquestionable, that Miroslav Srnka has clearly managed to create the score where immersion effect of being transported into another universe is even palpable – instead of expected harmonies you will get a soundcloud like no other with sounds imitating nature forces at the same time creating the tightly vowen fabric of human mind at work. At the first look at sizeable orchestra you would expect much more absorbing sound, while actually they were present all the time in the most unobtrusive way tactfully led by Kirill Petrenko.

The centerstage belonged to both competing teams and their leaders and here both Rolando Villazón and Thomas Hampson demonstrated their world-class vocal capabilities – since both roles are very complex, either full a capella or without sizeable orchestral backing that might soften any smallest unevenness.  Both roles require both strong stage presence and acting capability, which were demonstrated at the best by both protagonists.



Rolando Villazon as Scott and Thomas Hampson as Amundsen. Photo: Bayerische Staatsoper, W. Hōsl


This is one of the performances I can not tell I liked, – I was impressed, I did recognize importance of the event and admire Hans Neuenfels production- but I need to admit that it is still a long exploration path in opera world ahead of me to fully appreciate whole depth and beauty of this particular work.

Nevertheless, always happy for new discoveries, like Mojca Erdmann in the role of Landlady, and glad to see many favourite artists in new roles as well.

Notably, in a rather small but important role it was a pleasure to see and hear Tara Erraught again, she as always delivered vocally convincing and dramatically engaged portrayal.



Tara Erraught and Rolando Villazon, Photo: Bayerische Staatsoper, W. Hōsl


Thomas Hampson


The cast at curtain call


Rolando Villazon


Mojca Erdmann



Tara Erraught, South Pole, Bayerische Staatsoper, July 5th, 2016


Conductor: Kirill Petrenko


Production: Hans Neuenfels

Sets: Katrin Connan, Hans Neuenfels

Costumes: Andrea Schmidt-Futterer

Lights: Stefan Bolliger

Robert Falcon Scott :Rolando Villazón

Kathleen Scott: Tara Erraught

Lawrence Oates: Dean Power

Edward “Uncle Bill” Wilson: Kevin Conners

Edgar Evans: Matthew Grills

Henry “Birdie” Bowers: Joshua Owen Mills

Roald Amundsen: Thomas Hampson

Landlady: Mojca Erdmann

Hjalmar Johansen: Tim Kuypers

Oscar Wisting:  John Carpenter

Helmer Hanssen: Christian Rieger

Olav Bjaaland Sean: Michael Plumb

Bayerisches Staatsorchester

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s