… Stadttheater Bremerhaven has taken a no-holds-barred approach to the opera, lavishing love and care on a staging that is low budget in trappings but extravagant in polish and detail.
Director Robert Lehmeier´s production explores the famous outburst of Büchner´s „Wozzeck“, „Wir arme Leut“ (We poor people), which runs like a leitmotif through the score. Most interpretations assume that Wozzeck´s poverty is economic. Lehmeier takes it as a spiritual/emotional poverty, and gives us a classless society in which ennui reigns and the only currency is entertainment. In a world of oversatiation, moral values lose their meaning, and brutality is just another form of distraction. Nobody particularly cares what happens to Marie, not because she and Wozzeck are on a lower rung of the socio-economic ladder, but because nnobody cares what happens to anybody. The child, symbol of hope for the future – here portrayed as a young adult with a disabitlity – is largely ignored by all.
The sum of these parts is depressingly nihilistic, although, or perhaps because, it is realized with such finesse. On Mathias Rümmler´s simple sets – a clutch of beer garden tables on a naked stage – Lehmeier´s lost souls idle away their time in mutual autistic apathy. Each chorus member is lovingly cast as an eccentric figure, and all the performances are impressively committed. Under Marc Niemann´s direction, the chorus sings well and the orchestra gives an impressive account of Gurlitt´s meticulously crafted score. In the title role, Filippo Bettoschi is the guy next door, your friend down the road, the everyman type of murderer, sonorous and expressive. Inga-Britt Andresson´s Marie is passionate and intense, the smaller roles are solidly cast and well-sung.
In all, this is a thoughtful and scrupulous account of an intriguing work.