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Crazycrone's Corner

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Chronic CAESAR...
operasing
crazycrone
End of a perfectly rubbish week. After my visit to St Thomas' Vascular Clinic. (Hopefully without picking up any  frightening OUTBREAK-style cooties from the poor bloke they're treating there...) I thought I'd spend the afternoon mooching around my old Covent Garden haunts. I hadn't actually been in the market for about a year, and just hobbled about checking out stalls,shops,  etc. Of course, it decided to rain on me most of the time, despite a pretty dry forecast. Bah. I sat for a while in the good old St Paul's churchyard, which saved what sanity I had, so many times, during my working life.Such a gorgeously tranquil place amidst the hubbub. While there, I met the friendly  resident church tabby, who I'd not encountered before, and this incredibly gigantic magpie, about the size of a duck, with an exceptionally raucous voice.Fab.
Then, I crawled off to the Coli where kelper joined me, bearing a bag of those sublime Kipferl Cookies from her foodie paradise market. So simple, so scrummy...
I'd seen Handel's JULIUS CAESAR twice before... The first time featured the wondrously weird Norman Treigle as a basso Caesar, with Beverly Sills as Cleo, in New York. The second starred Janet Baker, with a splendid ENO cast. Both productions  were floridly baroque, with lots of gold and scarlet, and quite lively. Yes, it's very long, but done well, it's  enjoyable, and you don't notice the hours. Last night's show was not done well, and what with my general weariness, and arthritic owies, I soon found myself praying for death to release me (but hey, the seat wasn't cutting into my hips, due to weight loss/ muscle development, or whatever. Heh!)
Anyway, the more I think of this production, the more astounded I am by its blazing crapness.
The mise en scene, especially in the first act, was dreary, and the action mainly involved the pointless butchering of a giant crocodile, and a lot of dopey dancing/twitching by random people, often wearing gimp masks. Christian Curnyn  conducted at a plodding funereal pace, and while the singing was good (although Anna Chisty's Betty Boop-style vocalisation of Cleopatra was very much not to my taste...) nobody in the cast had a smidgin of charisma, nor made any effort at characterisation.
The urge to flee was intense, but we stayed for the second act. It looked a bit better, but was no more involving. Much more stamping and flapping about by the dancy people, and the highlight of the 'action' was Ptolemy yanking out the tongue of a dead giraffe (don't ask, I don't really know-) and tormenting poor old Cornelia with it, while she was being sexually harassed by Achillas. At least it got a laugh...
As the second interval commenced, we decided that enough was too much. I almost never walk out on a show/film, and always feel that I've probably missed the something interesting that was surely bound to happen, and indeed I'm now wondering what incredible horrors they'd reserved for Act III. I'm certainly very curious to see what the critics will make of it. My advice is stay  well  away, and maybe check out the DVD of the 80's ENO production.
'Credit' where it's due: This was a co-production with Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, directed  by Michael Keegan-Dolan
Cherry on top: an absurdly long wait for the bus, which was packed and dirty. I did get home in good time for the late EASTENDERS screening, though.

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I love the picture of Caesar with the balloons. Though you may have given him a shade too much dignity.

I'm so glad we ducked out when we did. It felt to me as if the director actually detested the opera (or was fixated by its stateliness), and was concentrating on bringing out everything weird and anti-dramatic.

Can't be worse than "Hamlet's Half Hour" which I only watched because my cousin was in it!


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