Reality bites: Sierra Cinemas presents ‘Wozzeck’ Saturday in Grass Valley |

Reality bites: Sierra Cinemas presents ‘Wozzeck’ Saturday in Grass Valley


WHAT: The Metropolitan Opera, LIVE in HD - “Wozzeck”

WHEN: Saturday at 9:55 a.m.

WHERE: Sierra Cinemas, 840-C East Main Street, Grass Valley

TICKETS: $23 Adults, $21 Seniors, $18 Children 12 and under & students with ID; Available online at or at the Sierra Cinemas Box Office

INFO:, 530-477-1100

This Saturday Grass Valley’s Sierra Cinemas presents the Met Opera Live in HD performance of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck.

We opera devotees know that the form we love embraces much more than bel canto, the “beautiful song.” It’s no surprise to acknowledge that more often than not the darker elements of human nature comprise the core of operatic works. Things can, and do, in fact, get ugly. Yet even in dark human tragedy there can remain a kind of beauty, the beauty of artfulness, of mastery, of the creation of gripping theatrical experience. Such is the case with Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, one of the most significant and influential works of the 20th century.

Pretty, it’s not; gripping and powerful, Wozzeck most certainly is. Premiering in 1925, with a libretto by the composer based on the play Woyzeck by Georg Büchner, the story is at times brutal, shocking, disturbing. The score is no less so, though accessible still with its passion, its power, its atonality. Berg’s musical influences range from Wagner to Mahler to Schoenberg. Berg, perhaps the most listenable of his 12-tone confreres, created an utterly original work that played all over Europe despite its suppression in Germany by the Nazis in 1933. The American premier was in 1931.

If you were fortunate enough to experience Berg’s other masterwork Lulu broadcast from the Met in 2015, know that Producer William Kentridge returns here to apply his stunning visual design sensibility. Set just prior to the First World War, Wozzeck looks at militarism, poverty –especially of spirit—and the “green-eyed monster” jealousy. Coming in under two hours, Wozzeck is certainly worth your investment of time. The conclusion is immensely moving. Tap tap, tap tap tap.

John Deaderick is a local theatre artist and the author of Make Sweet the Minds of Men: Early Opera and Tragic Catharsis, available at

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