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Crazycrone's Corner

Complaining, Crabbing,Caterwauling...

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BILLY BUDD...
operasing
crazycrone
It has been a very peculiar week, what  with one thing and another, but I was quite impressed by the new David Alden production of BILLY BUDD at ENO. I've always liked the piece, and this very brutal, unromantic take on it really packed a punch.
The chorus is on such smoking form at the moment, and  the whole thing was just gripping. I particularly liked Matthew Rose's very scary Claggart, Benedict Nelson, a new artist to me, as Billy, and veteran Jonathan Summers' compassionate Mr Redburn. Good thing motodraconiswas able to make it, at short notice. Wasting a ticket would have been criminal.
Here's a tuneful scene from an earlier ENO production I remember well. Made me kinda sad to see it again, though, what with most of the principals  being dead, now. Phillip Langridge was  an absolutely brilliant Vere, Richard Van Allan a fine Claggart, and John Connell, a wonderful singer, actor, and colossally funny guy, who was taken so tragically early, was a marvellous Dansker. *Sigh*

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxQEr11fFDg

This week's DVD was FALL OF THE LOUSE OF USHER, a bit of a late-life  frolic by Ken Russell. It was, sadly, absolute shite. It gave the impression  of being a stoned-out house party at Ken's, and largely improvsed, to very lame  effect. I did rather like the colourful final scene, which looked like a homage to Kenneth Anger. All in all, it was pretty pathetic, though.

*Edit for link error...Great as Claggart's Iago-esque  soliloquy is, this is what I meant to post, a rousing choral moment...

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Will you be going to Mandela? They were talking about it opening in London soon on the World Service and it sounded like the kinda thing you might schlep along to.

Duh...I know not of what you speak. A Mandela opera?

Yuh-huh.

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/music/article3515470.ece

Although this is headlined "London to host..." and I thought the World Service said it would be in London, elsewhere it says it's at the Millennium Centre in Wales. Bum.

Hmm, interesting; I guess I've overlooked any other references to it. Thanks for linky.

It was really dark and strange and moving. I'm still reeling from it even now.

Before the dress rehearsal

Do I owe you any cash for the tickets - let me know and I can prob pop the dosh in the post with a GOT cd.

No problemo about money; my pleasure.
Delighted you're 'still reeling', (so am I-) I do lurve the insane intensity of opera.

I saw it last night and was on the edge of my seat throughout. I thought the modern dress worked very well - it got over the trivialising, romantic effect of period naval costume, and Claggart looked extra-scary in his huge leather coat. The bit where he removes his gloves and unbuttons his coat as warm-up to explaining why he has to destroy Budd... ::shudder:: Such a charge from such simple actions. And the way his voice moved between sweetness and brutality was genuinely surprising. I loved the claustrophobia of the set, too - such a difference from the open multi-level thing of the last production.

I'm very curious to see what Alden does next to Britten.

So glad you managed to see it, and liked it. Really outstanding production, I thought.

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