Financial Times, 8. März 2004, Larry L. Lash
Das Krokodil, Sirene Operntheater, Vienna
If there was an award for operatic innovation, Jury Everhartz would be a shoo-in: Das Krokodil, his adaptation of Dostoevsky´s satire of economic principles, sets the audience on the stage and the action amid an orchestra of 12 grand pianos. A bilious green 13th piano represents the eponymous beast, wich swallows poor Ivan Matveitch in one gulp. Matveitch survives inside the animal, and the plot consists of arguments whether to slice open the animal or let the man remain inside, a notion which Matveitch finds increasingly comfortable, just as the reptile´s buffoonish owner finds it increasingly lucrative.
Everhartz unique sonic landscape contains the subversive humour of Satie, the driving rhythms of John Adams, the dissonant power of Prokofiev, the grace of Stravinsky, the soaring vocal lines of Berg and an odd hint of medieval/renaissance music. Kristine Tornquist´s production is filled with wry gimmickry: parts of Matveitch pop through trapdoors from the crocodile´s red plaid interior; the owner shares a tower of sausages with Matveitch and his beloved "Karlchen", whose keyboard /mouth opens to emit a belch.
As Matveitch sluttish Barbie-doll wife, Lisa Fornhammar flawlessly attacked Everhartz´s wild coloratura like a combination of Lulu and Queen of the Night. Natural born scene-stealer Rupert Bergmann cavorted shamelessly as the avaricious owner. Alfred Werner oozed corruption as Matveitch´s sinister boss. Baby-faced Bernd Fröhlich coped valiantly as Matveitch. Marco Di Sapia made Semyonitch a sympathic nerd, anchoring the evening with his sweet, reedy lyric baritone.