Some thoughts on Zigeunerbaron at Moerbisch 2011
I watched another lavish production from the vast floating stage at Moerbisch recently. It was the Zigeunerbaron by Strauss 2. They have done it several times but this was the 2011 production with Harald Serafin as Intendant. As usual he took a part himself and performed it very well. He is a brilliant character actor -- though there is a sense in which he always plays himself.
But I cannot imagine what he was thinking when he did the casting this time. Why was the old witch portrayed by an overweight young woman in a grey wig? Why was the allegedly attractive Saffi played by another rather overweight young woman? Why was Barikay portrayed as a hippy type? The role is for a wanderer but hippies are quite often sessile and plenty of wanderers are not hippies. There is no reason why the part could not have been filled by a generally attractive young man. I am afraid the casting rather ruined the show for me. The visual side has to be good in operetta and it was not on this occasion.
2012 was the last for Serafin at Moerbish before he handed over to Dagmar Schellenberger so maybe he was using the 2011 production as something of a last hurrah and to prove he can be politically correct about fat. Casting his son in a good role in the production also has the air of a last hurrah. He cast himself and his son in the 2012 production (of Fledermaus) too.
In my view the best performance was by Serafin himself. He was as usual fun to watch.
But it was a lively and amusing show overall with good music and the usual improbabilities of operetta. The famous Flotter Geist song was of course the musical highlight of the show. Ist nicht schwer!
An excerpt from the recruiting scene, with the stirring Werberlied (recruiting song):