February 6, 2023

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The beer operetta “Hopfen und Malz”: drunk instead of a drone

It is better to have half a cup before proceeding to make a dramatically swirling piece “Hopfen und Malz”. Behle has invented a magical free beer that never runs dry and is brewed on the full moon in Wolf’s Bay. In addition, he needs a sinless, pure faucet.

A colorful bouquet of opera literature

Yes, opera singer and opera expert Behle quotes and parodies operatic literature from Freischütz to Macbeth and from Don Carlos to Parsifal to the tenor’s delight. His music oscillates between folk, dance, folk and very emotional elements and requires a large ensemble that knows all the tricks of the profession. Sometimes he bathes in echoes of Strauss or Wagner, then he sings a baroque fugue in the chorus. Compile some original numbers, but the wealth of ideas flattens over time and becomes cumbersome.

An effort for choir, orchestra and solos

Hats off to the effort that the choir, orchestra and soloists had to perform at Annaberg-Buchholz. Behle evidently often had co-stars at Bayreuth and a large symphony orchestra at his ears. That is why for the general director of music Jens Georg Bachmann the balance is difficult in the small trench, and it is necessary to use light vocals.

Gags and the rattling of rubber boots

Sing Along Brewmaster Duo

Many parallel stories are linked in some way, and some characters are simply superfluous. Behle and co-writer Alain-Claude Sulzer focus more on wordplay than storytelling. Senta loves the mountains, not Dutch Bernd, so he sings about Bernd’s “hurt” in an orange soccer jersey and berates himself “Goal, goal, goal”. The brewer’s duet to sing along to is a treat, as is Letty’s song from The Dutch Caravan.

Unfortunately, the three-hour evening of rave ends without a free beer during intermission. Behle’s beer operetta must be well filtered again—that is, shortened and refined—because a drunken operetta is far more frisky than a full-bodied drone.