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Cleopatra in Liz Taylor |

Cleopatra in Liz Taylor |

In Handel’s Julio Cesar with Louise Alder at the theater an der Wien, Keith Warner dispenses with an obvious directing concept and instead indulges in his love for Hollywood.

Production costs pushed the company to the brink of collapse. 79 sets, 26,000 outfits, 65 of which are for the lead actress alone: ​​the most famous was the gold-plated dress depicting the wearer as a phoenix with cap sleeves. Revisions and cuts, history-making fee demands and bare nerves, behind-the-scenes scandals, dismissal of key workers in abuse and disgrace, then forced to keep working on their knees—and finally a technical disaster, at least in the form initially published. No, we’re not talking about the last premiere at Theater an der Wien, but about the same emotional theme in world politics in a different form: Joseph L. Mankevich’s pork costume “Cleopatra” (1963), with Elizabeth Taylor, Rex Harrison and Richard Burton.

The most expensive movie ever made at the time (inflation-adjusted: $370 million!) was still profitable: from 1973, thanks to television. Spectacle is the key word – on screen as well as on opera stage. That’s why director Keith Warner reached out for the classic in his new production of Handel’s “Julio Caesar in Ijeto,” which premiered in 1724 at London’s King’s Theatre. On the other hand, since Warner has childhood memories of old London cinema with a mixture of Egyptian and antique styles: the movie theater in the early days wanted to polish the image of the sinister booth in the direction of high culture. In the furnishings by Ashley Martin Davis, of course, the atmosphere is already rosy. On the other hand, because Warner goes from movie engagements to scenic intoxication that strengthens itself on stage on stage, on movie in movie.

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