The Teatro Colón opened its season in a clearly unusual way, outside its own building, in La Rural’s Pabellón Ocre, as part of the “Colón en la Ciudad” initiative. To commemorate forty years of democracy, it was decided to present a show by the Italian director Romeo Castellucci, a notable figure on the European theater scene.
“Resurrection” takes Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and proposes a stage development throughout that monumental work premiered in 1895. In Castellucci’s proposal, the orchestra, choir and soloists are located in a pit. The wide stage is covered by tons of dirt. A white horse roams the grounds and, to the alarm of its owner, discovers what appears to be human remains. When the symphony begins to play, agents from the UNHCR arrive, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, who throughout the first four movements of Mahler’s work, dig up corpses, place them on white sheets and , finally, to remove them in vans. The scene can allude to any of the many atrocities of humanity, with victims stripped of their identity. In our country, it inevitably refers us to the horror of those who disappeared during the last dictatorship.
The exhumation continues for almost an hour. What initially could shock and move, soon becomes tedious. The repetitive nature of the scene makes it routine and cold. On the other hand, the action takes place together with Mahler’s Symphony, but Catellucci does not seem to have been interested in finding a cohesion between the two. The two works run on parallel tracks for almost the entirety of their development. Staging a symphony, created to be heard, can be an attractive proposition. But “Resurrección” seems to seek only impact and then fade into routine, while Mahler’s glorious music sustains the show.
The musical realization must have been remarkable, with a conductor of the stature of Charles Dutoit. However, the amplification made it impossible to fully appreciate the result and overshadowed several passages with shrillness and slurred sounds. Despite everything, the orchestra managed to show its usual solvency and both the choir and the soloists gave solid performances.