This probably tells you more about me than it does about Mozart, but after I watched that ‘conventional’ production of Entfuehrung again the other evening, what I ended up wondering was, am I being fucked with here? Is this intended to be as straightforward as it seems?
Ultimately, I think the answers to those questions are 1. No and 2. Yes.
I think the questions themselves are worthwhile, though. Thinking about this put me in mind of some of the little touches in this version of Le Nozze di Figaro (it’s Staatsoper Berlin, 1999). What I linked to was ‘porgi, amor’ and notice that while this is basically a period production (e.g. see Susanna’s costume) have a look at what the Countess picks up after she sets down the cup of tea. It’s an issue of Vogue. (Susanna later gets distracted by it when the Countess is in ‘woe’ mode, but that’s not in this clip) There are a few other little touches like this, e.g. Figaro has a tool belt in Act I, that remind us that we are a modern audience and this is a modern performance and that is always going to be a part of our relationship to this opera.
(Also, apparently they are doing this production again in Berlin in February. Different cast, and probably well worth hearing. Part of me wants to go. Anyone feel like hanging out in Berlin in February?)