Classical music and opera - including contemporary forms - from London and beyond.
The fluidity and purity of Elian Pretorian’s singing preserved the aerial and a-temporal character of the score originally written for a boy soprano. It was highly regrettable that the dialogues between the choir and the orchestra were akin to a dialogue of the deaf.
Connoisseurs can probably nail down what makes Stevie Wonder’s songs and Bach’s cantatas timeless, while Beyoncé‘s ‘Déjà vu’ was an ephemeral hit. Yet this distinction does not come naturally. An appreciation of music has to be fostered, perhaps by documentaries like this - alas, Goodall’s programme does not deliver.
The period setting of the venue itself, with ruined walls and notices warning the audience about the poor functionality of the building, works wonderfully with the stage art direction - all creating a haunting world, rotting with mediocrity, crying for greatness.
This is a opera that celebrates heroic failure; it’s not whether you win or lose, but the fact that you play the game. As Chou says ‘We fight, we die, and if we do not fight we die’. Nothing about either Adams’ opera or this ENO performance smacks of failure, however.
Lucy then finds herself on a Musical Road that leads to Craigmillar Castle. There lurks Simon Cowell, the Wizard of Pop himself. To return home Lucy has to reach the castle and become Britney Spears for the day.
Lack of innovation in musical theatre leads to the real danger of lack of variety in the performance and production of this genre as a whole, and that includes opera as well.
European cabaret is so different from the Broadway-style American cabaret that I cannot help but curse the English language for its paucity - we have umpteen ways of saying how we like to take our tea, but can’t be bothered to make up two extra words to describe polarities in entertainment.
It’s a tall order to make something that is already an absurdity and parody it without making it cliché and trite. Yet Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee’s Jerry Springer: the Opera is able to do it wonderfully and hilariously.