Last Saturday we caught the opening night of English National Opera’s new production of The Queen of Spades. Not entirely a success, albeit with flashes of magnificence.
Most of the problem was David Alden’s: the production had an air of cheapness about it, not to mention laziness. Present were the trademark harsh side-lighting and oddball extras, as well as much piling up of chairs, not to mention the frankly puerile appearance of a bunch of stuffed carton character heads at one point. Of darkness and tension there was practically none. (more…)
Such a lot has already been written about ENO’s The Damnation of Faust, the rather shapeless but lovable piece of Berlioz that has been panel-beaten into a concept by Terry Gilliam. It was a really good evening at the theatre. Not sure it did Berlioz very much good, though.
It’s always been a problem, as many have remarked: not an opera, not an oratorio, but a ‘legende dramatique‘. When composers start inventing new terms for their dramatic – and not so dramatic – works, preparations should be made for an unconventional evening out. Bühnenweihfestspiel, anyone? (more…)