Thursday, July 09, 2009

La Bore De Loin

Level of conviction in own genius: 6.8
Amount of creative activity acheived in last 24 hours: 2
Watching: 'Psychoville' on BBC2
Hair Day: Needs drastic cut-and-paste action before photoshoot tomorrow

Celebrated our second whole wedding anniversary by going to the Coliseum to see the ENO do Kaija Saariaho's 'L'Amour de Loin'. It's very rare I go to the opera, mostly because I don't like people singing all the time when they could be speaking... BUT I have liked Saariaho's delicate, exquisitely orchestrated works in the past and was bang up for it. The opening was a fabulously sensual feast of theatrical headiness, with a huge silky canvas sliding over the audience's heads onto the stage, oversized staging and opulent costumes. Oh yes, and aerial acrobatics from six great performers who writhed and twisted on hanging sheets to represent the three main character's spirits. But from then on, it was mostly downhill: the opera soon transpired to comprise the most dull story ever (high concept is too interesting to describe it): prince falls in love with noble lady he's never seen (that's the first half), he eventually travels to her, but falls ill and dies as they declare their love. Oh, and she, having been nothing more than a vacuous object, decides she's lost the love of her life, curses God for two minutes, and then - of course! -becomes a nun. Over two and a half hours, and with the principles singing the most achingly banal language possible - "'My heart aches for her', 'Oh that is a shame','It is like a burning flame', 'Oh dear, a burning flame'" - it was one big frustrating yawn. I kept hoping there'd be a few explosions or swordfights or something, but no, just interminable recit-like passages going on and on with very little motivic writing or aria-like stuff or anything. The lovely staging was nothing more than desperate padding for such a black hole of an opera; the poor singers often had to stand for twenty minutes looking ponderous. We saw plenty of friends and faces: Mikhail and Uriel, the juicettes, E.Laine, old Yorkie pal James Williams, the newsreader Julia Somerville and Kaija herself, floating gracefully around in red, oblivious to the audience's dark mutterings.

Still, on the plus side, it was actually great going to the opera and it makes me want to see more! Picking and choosing carefully of course. It also makes me realise my own music-theatre bent is freaking genius and should be pursued immediately. It's not about writing operas that just anyone can bellow out with the audience struggling to hear the words thorough the fog of their vibrato, but using idiosyncratic voices and mixing up styles. Mikhail will be doing it soon with his new opera commission and one day he and then I WILL rule the opera world and juice will star!!! Ha.

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