Sunday, 4 April 2010


I am afraid that neither Easter nor Christmas carries much religious significance for me personally - if it did perhaps I would enjoy them more. Interestingly (for me anyway) many operas carry a heavy religious content and the struggles with their religious beliefs - or the horrors they commit in His name - that characters endure or enjoy do fascinate me. There are many examples of course but for me this is best encapsulated in Tosca (not the only Puccini with such a plot curve). I don't know many people who agree with my opinion of why Tosca kills Scarpia but I doubt I'd elucidate on it over dinner with a Catholic priest.

By the way I had a nice lunch in Hampstead and won a two foot chocolate bunny in a free raffle. The true message of Easter for most!

I have also been reading some of the articles that have been written for our programme. Along with Tony Holden's lovely story of the process of Da Ponte's creation of the Don G libretto, I was very taken with Michael Tanner's humanist view of Fidelio and he draws a straight line between what Beethoven wanted to convey and the interpretation of the piece by director Olivia Fuchs. It is well known that our production was the first to use Guantanamo as an analogy and it shows, if nothing else, that the world still struggles with the principles of liberty and justice - even a nation founded on those very principles. Interestingly, when I receive letters from people complaining about modern productions, they almost always accuse the director of arrogance, of daring to change what the composer wanted. Well even setting aside the historical contexts and time lines of those composers, I'd venture quite strongly that if he'd been alive to see something like Guantanamo, Beethoven would have declared; "that's exactly what I meant".

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