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Max Hopp, most recently celebrated in the role of Tevje the milkman, is also a tour de force as the eccentric professor of phonetics, Henry Higgins. By his side is musical star Katharine Mehrling, who won the »Golden Curtain« Berlin audience award for her portrayal of the brash and stalwart Eliza Doolittle in Andreas Homoki’s production.
Professor Henry Higgins, a leading expert in phonetics and a passionate defender of proper elocution, makes a bet with the similarly-minded Colonel Pickering: using the young flower girl Eliza Doolittle, who can only express herself in the coarse dialect of the lower classes, Higgins wishes to prove that the brilliant polish which proper elocution provides opens the doors to the highest echelons of society. Yet what Higgins forgets on his path to success is that Eliza is no guinea pig, but a person – with and without an accent!
In his acerbic criticism of the rigid class structures in 19th-century England, the author of the literary template for My Fair Lady, George Bernard Shaw, drew on the ancient myth of the sculptor Pygmalion, who falls in love with an idealised woman he has carved out of stone. Director Andreas Homoki, the artistic director of the Zurich Opera House, has found grand poetic images for the worlds which separate someone like Eliza Doolittle from the »better society« of someone like Professor Higgins, and in his production fully emphasises the musical and dramatic qualities of this »perfect musical«. The fact that an elocution exercise set to music – »The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain« – remains a perennial favourite to this day says everything you need to know about the enchanting power of Frederick Loewe's immortalised melodies.
Based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and the film by Gabriel Pascal
Book and song texts by Alan Jay Lerner
German version by Robert Gilbert