Saturday, 22 February 2020

Ghosts, Zombies and Gypsies

“How on the other hand could I make a reference without a new plunge into the hideous obscure?”

- Henry James, The Turn of the Screw

And so to the opera. I have been to see Britten's 'The Turn of the Screw'. I'd seen Opera North's production about ten years ago, but didn't recognise any of it; old age seems to have some benefits. It was appropriately spooky, the music and singing were top rate and it also involved knitting and puppets; so no complaints from me. I should mention the remarkably precocious eleven year-old who played Miles; I should, but I can't because I have mislaid my programme.

Miles of course dies in the end (sorry for the spoiler, but it's an opera so what else did you expect), but doesn't sing afterwards unlike many others - especially sopranos - do. I have also been to see a zombie themed version of 'Don Giovanni' (if you know the plot then you'll realise that it sort of makes sense) in which Il Commendatore did not just sing after dying, but also after his entrails had been ripped from him and eaten by his murderer. So, more realistic than many operas then. 

Finally, I've seen another Mozart piece - 'The Marriage of Figaro'. I previously saw that one while on my post-divorce exile in the upper gallery so it was interesting to see it up close following my return to the expensive seats. It was well worth it, although I can only repeat my previous advice to the composer: lose the fourth act. On this occasion I not only missed my bus, but on top of that the following one was cancelled; thanks for nothing Wolfgang. 

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