September 29th, 2013

operasing

Flat FLEDERMAUS...

I carried on feeling crank, but figured a bit of froth might actually help. Uh-uh. I always find DIE FLEDERMAUS a bit of a chore to sit through. Love the music, but can't be arsed with all the feeble jokes and forced cavorting. I didn't realise just how excruciating it could be. Even making allowances for people not singing out, two principals miming, etc. due to the universal lurgy, it is possibly the worst production of anything I've seen at ENO in recent years.helenraven reckoned it was even worse than last season's assassination of JULIUS CAESAR, but thinking about it, I'm not quite sure. That one was so dire that we actually had to leave, whereas we endured FEDERMAUS to the fizzled-out end.
I felt very sorry for the cast, which included ENO regulars Tom Randle, Andrew Shore and Julia Sporsen, who are usually excellent, but in this case, appeared unsurprisingly agonised, especially poor Tom Randle as Eisenstein. Jennifer Holloway sounded lovely, and I think in happier circumstances, she'd be a superb Orlofsky.
Frosch the 'comic' gaoler, is always terrible. I've seen the likes of Frankie Howerd, Udo Samel and Nigel Planer come to embarrassing grief taking it on. Jahn Pohl was required to deliver his clunkingly unfunny lines while evidently imitating Dirk Bogarde in THE NIGHT PORTER, and occasionally feigning seizures. Poor man. It's unplayable at the best of times, but this was flabbergasting.
I was surprised that the guilty producer was Christopher Alden. Even if I don't really care for what he's done with a show, his work is usually very interesting,at least.
The German-speaking couple in the box with us were appalled, and the lady commented that you have to see a proper Viennese staging to appreciate FLEDERMAUS. Perhaps she's right.
One really good thing was the work of the orchestra, under Eun Sun Kim, in her first ENO gig.They sounded terrific.
Probably best avoided, though

http://www.eno.org/fledermaus

I even found myself talking with strangers during a long wait at the bus stop, about what a stinker it was. motodraconis reports a similar experience, so the production may have its purpose in inspiring audiences to unusual feats of interreaction.

For the cherry on top, there was a rather horrid drunken brawl on Whitehall. One guy looked like he might have been proper hurt. Luckily for me, I was on the bus by then, not trying to hobble through the fray.
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CurioCity...

Oh, forgot to mention that helenraven gave a couple of these cool lil' guides she'd picked up at the map shop. They introduce visitors to various odd and intriguing London spots to visit, with wee articles, and a nice map on the back. (Hey, I didn't realise that Dante Gabriel Rosetti kept wombats as pets. Respect!) Anyway, I went to the website, and that's very interesting too. Check it out:
http://www.curiocity.org.uk/