Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Der Rosenkavalier at Glyndebourne



Another revival of Richard Jones's production of Der Rosenkavalier. This time, Kate Lindsey gave us a less tomboy Octavian compared to the previous production. Rachel Willis-Sørensen was a strong Marschallin and Brindley Sherratt was a growly Ochs. Second act worked the best, the shiny presentation of the rose and the tender duet between Octavian and Sophie (Elizabeth Sutphen) with the nouveau riche stage set. Robin Ticciati help the LPO deliver a lush Straussian sound.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

The Inheritance, the Young Vic

Earlier in the week I saw George Benjamin's Lessons of Love and Violence, a contemporary loosely based on Christopher Marlowe's Edward II. A couple of days later, I saw The Inheritance, a play by Matthew Lopez which was loosely based on E M Forster's Howards End. Set in the present, with flash backs to the AIDS epidemic in New York during the 80s.



Lopez was very clever in mapping the interactions between the characters in The Inheritance onto Howards End. No, it wasn't a direct retelling. But the mapping re-created the emotions of young love, heated political debate, compassion, intense passion, and resignation. Samuel H. Levine who played Adam / Leo was outstanding - especially where he met his own likeness (Leo meeting Adam) and how they had a conversation. Andrew Burnap's Toby was intense, with his past gradually catching up with him. Kyle Soller as Eric Glass was the pivot in the play (the equivalent of Margaret Schlegel in Howards End) - where he was confronting and reflecting what has happening around him.

Oh boy, it was a 6.5 hour long play - but one wouldn't know as the dialogues had momentum and there was never a dull moment. One felt emotionally drained yet hopeful at the end. I wonder whether it'd ever make it to the big screen?

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Lessons in Love and Violence, the Royal Opera

It's always special attending a world premiere. Nobody knew what the work sounded like. No "opinions". So there I was watching George Benjamin's Lessons in Love and Violence. This was a re-telling of Edward II's story drawing heavily on Christopher Marlowe's play about this monarch. From the first bar we entered into George Benjamin's immersive, intriguing and intimate sound world. Martin Crimp text was crisp and jagged, and beautifully set by Benjamin - loved the overlapping speech rhythm. Stéphane Degout delivered an intense and troubled King. Gyula Orendt's Gaverston and Peter Hoare's Mortimer were well matched.



As Benjamin himself conducted, I guessed that's how he wanted the work to sound. I'd need to see it again to hear everything properly (as I found watching Written On Skin second time round more rewarding). Then again, what do I know about 21st Century operas?