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A boot up the arse for opera

Singers dressed up in sausage wrappers? At the Komische Oper Festival (July 13-18), classics are turned upside down and inside out. And that's just what opera needs...

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Performances at the Komische Oper are one thing for sure, and that’s komisch (bizarre). First, librettos are chauvinistically Germanised, but then dutifully made accessible to international audiences through English translations… on the back of each seat. What’s more, operas are turned upside down and inside out, with every ounce of potential eccentricity wrung out, and then a bit more added for good measure.

The week-long Komische Oper Festival in July is an opportunity to see all of the 2009/10 seasons’ premieres. Rigoletto (July 13, 20:00), in particular, is worth a look. As is this month’s new production of La Périchole (photo; July 18, 20:00 ) – beginning with singers dressed up in sausage wrappers, it only gets more surreal, developing into a gameshow-cum-cabaret-cum musical theatre piece that’s sure to make Offenbach turn in his grave. Still, the standard of singing is extremely high, and the Komische Oper is giving opera just what it needs – a boot up the arse.

KOMISCHE OPER FESTIVAL | July 13-18. For a full schedule, visit www.komische-oper-berlin.de