Laurence Cummings, one of the world’s leading exponents of Handel’s music, conducted the premiere of Christoph Marthaler’s baroque pasticcio Sale, at the Zurich Opera House on 4 November 2012.
Marthaler is highly regarded as a pioneer of inventive staging and the production also features mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and the resident orchestra of the Zurich Opera House, La Scintilla.
Sale tells the story of a department store threatened with closure. Amidst the shelves of a once flourishing store, the estranged family shareholders reassemble after decades apart; their connection with the firm has previously only been apparent via paper accounts. Through Handel’s music, the family relive the happiness of a golden era of successful sales, countless employees and ringing cash registers. They sink deeper into recollections of the past and share an increasingly heightened sense of loss.
As music director of this controversial yet highly-acclaimed production, Cummings, praised for his “inspired and inspiring“ musical direction (The Times), has been described as ‘universally excellent’ by the Financial Times. Cummings has evidently helped to create a contemporary work which throws new light on Handel’s music.