Puccini’s Toaster is Berlin in Opera Form
By Jonathan Epstein . January 15, 2018
Puccini’s Toaster’s operatic performance of Gian Carlo Menetti’s The Old Maid and the Thief was one of those rare moments in which the ineffable naïve energy of this city culminated for an instant.
For it is only in Berlin that an opera can take place not in a Wagnerian performance hall, in which every aspect of the interior is intended to enhance the acoustic quality of the music, but at Tango Loft, whose façade is covered in graffiti, making the performance all the more charming.
In addition to being a great place to learn the eponymous dance style, the Tango Loft holds events like these just often enough to make each and everyone feel special.
After descending the sticky stairs at S-Bahnhof Wedding, walking around aimlessly in the large hof that doesn’t even try to be hospitable, I entered upon this wonderfully open loft with a chair placed right in the center of the make shift stage. To the right and left there were stools, chairs, couches, and a sundry of other pieces of furniture that, under normal circumstances clash, but seemed to personify even more the eclectic aesthetic that Berlin has worked so hard to cultivate and preserve.
Once the performance started, I quickly became enchanted. Similar to how you feel when you and your family go out for dinner during winter time and the wonderful relaxed sensation of satiation overcomes you. Not because of the proscenium, nor the set or acoustics, and not even because of the opera itself.
Rather you’re immersed in the wonderment of what you’re watching. With a total ensemble of eight, each trill of the clarinet and vocal embellishment of the cast rang with a heartfelt earnestness that only such an intimate performance can evoke. And the audience, as if sensing this too, seemed equally delighted and aware of this.
But there was no clearer example of the wonderment of the performance and the place itself than when halfway through the performance, I noticed that the lights from the S-Bahn would flicker across the actors and audience, engulfing them in the energy that Pound must’ve one time felt as he sat transfixed in a Paris metro observing passersby entering the carts, except that this was on a weekday in Gesundbrunnen.
Find out about Puccini’s Toaster’s upcoming shows on their Facebook page.