Archive for the ‘Opera’ Category
After the Knot Garden I felt I deserved a good operatic Shakespeare adaptation. And what could be better than Verdi's Falstaff, a hilarious trouser-dropping, Wedgie-giving, crossdressing farce of an opera, from Shakespeare's cross-dressing gay-marriage farce the Merry Wives of Windsor.
Sometimes, adding low humour is fulfilling the author's intent.
And this was a brilliant production - two groups of people hiding from each other in the same washing spinning-up thingie - you know, the ones that look kind of like a tree? - and coming out from the washing as needed to talk, whilst the others spin the washing around. Falstaff, fat, bald, and swaggering. The bottom of the washing basket falling out when the servants lift it to throw it in the river, and Falstaff walking along under it, only to be left squaltting in the window ledge until Alice kicked him into the river.
And the Elf scene, with a wonderful effect of the world turning upside down, and the washing line-spinning-clothestree thing being used as Herne's oak lifted into the air, and slowly turned over as the moon ansd stars moved onto the floor of the stage, and with the elves made up of the key props from the show: the antlers of Faldstaff's black huntsman costume, the broom that was used in so many scenes for hitting people with. (on one elf the arms were made of a noose (the huntsman hanged himself) instead of the antlers).
It was just brilliantly staged, brilliantly sung, and had brilliant comic timing. I only wish I could see that production again at will.
Today, I went to see a production of the Knot Garden. It's one of those modern operas, created by those people who look at great works that broke the rules, then decide to break all the rules at once. It's supposedly about Shakespeare's Tempest. Although, of course, actually letting any Shakespeare in wouldn't be modern, would it?
Whilst suffering through it, I amused myself by coming up with my own version. I needed to get rid of some hate and bile.
NOTE: Anything placed within *'s is set to the same rising, discordant theme.
THE NOT RUDDIGORE.
Opening Scene: A room with 8 chairs. On four of them sit Rose Maybud (disguised as a young boy), Dame Hannah (terribly disfigured), Mad Margaret, and Roderick. Enter Despard. Everyone switches chairs. Enter Robin. Everyone switches chairs. Enter Old Adam, who is black because we must have racial politics in a modern opera. Everyone switches chairs. Enter Richard. Everyone switches chairs. Roderick stands.
DISCORDANT RECITATIVE: RODERICK:
With these people, I will *create Ruddigore!*
The scene switches to a dead garden, with a house in the middle. Roderick leads in Mad Margaret. She sets to pruning a dead rose bush, removing the roses. Although in the original, the symbolism didn't make sense. Roderick comes over to her.
RODERICK: *I thought I'd help you prune!*
MARGARET: *Only I may prune the* roses.
Opera for children is a delicate balance, and Scottish Opera is to be congratulated for not pandering to them, but presenting a work of actual artistic merit, their only concession to children being an attempt to make the plot easier to follow. However, there are several problems that ultimately make me consider The minotaur only a partial success.
Things start out rather promisingly - The Oracle's opening song reeked with excitement and drama, as she began to set the scene for the opera. Louise Innes' is a superb performer both physically and vocally, and practically oozes charisma - an excellent bit of casting. Things look very promising indeed.