When first performed in 1851, Rigoletto was explosive because of its implied criticism of a corrupt king. In pursuit of a comparable political edge, director James Macdonald transfers Verdi’s tragedy from Renaissance Mantua to a fictitious 1960s White House.
In his final decade, the Czech nationalist Janacek, found a new love interest and produced five major operas. The most accessible and refreshing is The Cunning Little Vixen (premiered in 1924), with its comic acceptance – like late Shakespeare – of the redemptive power of love and renewal, and its tragic awareness of the forces of raw nature and of life’s disappointments.
One of the main reasons to stay in London in the summer is the Proms. I admit that I am in love with the Royal Albert Hall. There is something about sitting in this circular, wedding cake structure that has an effect on the psyche.
Don Carlo – or Don Carlos – in history was the mentally unstable son of Philip II of Spain whose brief betrothal to the woman his father later married and contacts with Protestant rebels in the Low Countries provided ammunition for the “black legend” propaganda whipped up by the opponents of his father’s rule.
This was the first time I had seen this operetta and the idea of Viennese kitsch did not excite me. Director Max Webster clearly shares my antipathy for schlock. His production is a wonderful reframing of the story from a post #MeToo perspective.
by Stephanie Sears • art, authors, books, drawing, fiction, film, literature, music, painting, playwrights, sculpture, society, theatre, writing, year 2019 • Tags: art, authors, books, drawing, fiction, film, history, literature, music, painting, playwrights, sculpture, society, Stephanie V Sears, theatre, writing •
As a half French, half American individual, I give in to a pastime common to double nationals, which consists of regularly comparing both countries of origin.
Lucca, Italy, was the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini in 1858 in an apartment that is now a museum to the last and most famous of generations of Puccini maestros, restored to its Second Empire glory, down to a bed, surrounded by columns, that replicates the one in which Puccini was born.
A show that leaves the line “Are you fucking kidding me?” ringing in your ears and delivers a series of morals that include “don’t pressure other people into sex because it doesn’t work” and “don’t judge people by appearances, unless they’re really hot” could cause offence.