Liebe Stirbt Nie – Hamburg, 29th December 2015

31 Dec

I watched the London production of Love Never Dies various times despite not being sold on the story. Reason was the great score and the wonderful cast.

When I first heard about a German production of the show I was absolutely sure I would give it a miss – just like I do with most shows over here. However, circumstances arose that meant I would find myself in the Operettenhaus in Hamburg on a cold evening in December.

First of all Liebe Stirbt Nie is adapted from the Australian production of Love Never Dies which differs from the London production in terms of set and costumes. The score remains mostly untouched but has been translated into German.

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Mathias Edenborn (alternate) played the Phantom on this occasion. He has a rich voice and manages to do the score justice. I admit I wasn’t blown away by his performance though. His portrayal seemed over-dramatic but that might be the way he has been directed to play the part so I will give him the benefit of the doubt. I simply prefer the Phantom to be a bit more subtle with just the occasional outburst which then comes across as even more meaningful and gripping.

But then subtleness is not what Liebe Stirbt Nie is about. This show wants to wow the audience by putting on a true extravaganza. Sadly it fails. The set is meant to be impressive and colourful but the stage is too small for all the various bits and pieces. Everything looks cramped and a lot of the set’s beauty is lost due to lack of space. Some of the costumes appear too bright, too colourful and therefor lose their elegance – whoever thought Christine’s peacock dress was a good idea: I’m saying no.

Szenenbild aus dem Musical LIEBE STIRBT NIE, von Andrew Lloyd We

Jazmin Gorsline (alternate) is a cute Christine but lacks the vocal strength to do the big title song justice. I remember being speechless the first time I saw and heard Sierra Boggess perform this song in London – it was such a beautiful scene that built up to the most astonishing finale with Chistine standing at the front of the stage belting out these incredible notes. Jazmin Gorsline sings the song well enough but she doesn’t manage to make it that one moment you will remember, that one song that breaks your heart a little.

Yngve Gasoy-Romdal’s Raoul is the drunk, sad excuse of a husband you expect to see. I still think that character is one of the hardest to play in the show. It’s tough to get the fine line between making Raoul someone the audience feels for depsite his faults and portraying a man the audience simply hates. Too much on either side and Raoul becomes a Panto-like character. Yngve did ok but I got the feeling he wasn’t really taking the character seriously. I can’t blame him – Raoul has gone from knight in shining armour straight to drunk, abusive idiot. It never made sense to me and it never will.

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The rest of the cast did a good job with the material they’d been given – special mention for Björn Klein who was a wonderfully creepy Squelch. But said material is the problem that makes Liebe Stirbt Nie a very mixed bag. The story is ridiculous, simple as that. Looking at Phantom of the Opera the characters have undergone a completey unbelievable development. Some moments in the show are nothing but cringeworthy.

However, the score remains one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best works in my opinion. And while the German translation is far from perfect the beautiful melodies make the songs a joy to listen to.

So, is Liebe Stirbt Nie a failure? Not entirely. Is it a show you need to watch? No.

But as always I’m asking you to make up your own mind. Liebe Stirbt Nie is running at the Operettenhaus in Hamburg. For more info and tickets visit http://www.stage-entertainment.de/musicals-shows/liebe-stirbt-nie-hamburg.html.

 

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3 Responses to “Liebe Stirbt Nie – Hamburg, 29th December 2015”

  1. JD January 1, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

    Interesting – it sounds like you really didn’t expect to like it from the start? I disagree! I love this production. I live in Hamburg and have seen Mathias, Rachel, Gardar, Jazmin, and the female understudies. Jazmin reminds me of Sierra vocally and I love it – not too operatic on the main song, just as it should be, the notes shouldn’t be belted out. She made me cry, and I thought she and Mathias and Ingve are great actors as well. The trio is amazing.

    The story may not be perfect, but I think it is beautiful with great performances. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Steffi January 1, 2016 at 9:40 pm #

      Comments on here need to be approved. Only way to avoid Spam I’m afraid. As for the show – I knew I wouldn’t like the story. But I have seen the London production 30+ times despite thinking the plot is quite simply awful. The score is beautiful and I love hearing it live. I might have enjoyed the German show more had I not seen the London original though which in my eyes was better staged and had a cast I enjoyed watching more. All personal taste, obviously. I do admit I generally prefer original productions over translated shows. I’m yet to see a German show that hasn’t lost due to translation – it’s very, very hard to get that bit right. I disagree about Jazmin sounding like Sierra vocally – Jazmin has a lovely voice but Sierra’s voice is definitely stronger if you compare them live (and yes, the final part of the song needs to have a great soprano belt to it). That doesn’t mean one can’t prefer Jazmin or like her just as much as Sierra, of course. 🙂 I’m glad you love the show! I don’t want it to fail so it’s good there are people who support this production. And I will be back at some point to see my friend in it. 🙂

      • JD January 1, 2016 at 11:08 pm #

        Yeah, For Love Never Dies, I have only seen the London production on video. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of the other leads if you come back to Hamburg. I like them all for different reasons. Thanks for the add to the blog follow!

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