Monday, 1 August 2011

Spoilers...shut up!

And so the great mystery is solved; how would we do the avalanche? Rarely has an element of an opera so pre-occupied a nation! It is worth pointing out that the story is, in fact, that Wally sees the avalanche and throws herself to her death. Does the opera even call for an avalanche?

It has been a bit disappointing to see the closing element of the show revealed in some reviews because its effect at the dress, when nobody knew what would happen was dramatic on those who saw it. But that is a common theme these days; in Rigoletto, the reimagined ending has been given away several times. On that I am stridently with the director, Lindsay Posner, to such a degree that I think Verdi made a ricket of it. A genuine, if rare, case of the stage director knowing better than the composer (ooh, controversial).

As for La Wally, I think there is immense beauty at times in the production and it draws one in- spellbindingly at times.

One almost universal aspect has been approval for the opera's gorgeous score. Perhaps a reappraisal of it as a one aria opera is about to occur? Richard Morrison said in The Times that the Act four prelude is "as haunting as Mahler's First Symphony" which is praise indeed. Of course, we have been saying this sort of thing about these operas for years and it is good to see credible voices raised in acceptance of this fact. For too long, it has been as if people cannot really bring themselves to accept that there is a whole school of neglected operas that actually do feature some quite breathtaking music. If it is neglected, then there must be a good reason for it, right? Well no actually. It is usually because opera house managements all around the world are simply not inventive, knowledgeable or imaginative enough. One thing is for absolutely sure, there is an enormous appetite for it, as has been proven by our selling out La Wally and pretty much every other opera in this vein over the years. Still, why mine the repertoire of the past 100 years when you can spunk a few hundred grand on another new opera by a pop star? There was a piece in the Guardian today (a decent one, too) by a composer who wonders whether opera singers can sing pop? Why? Because he wants to write an opera and is not sure that opera singers can sing his kind of music. Write a bloody musical then and get Alfie Boe to sing it!

Still, you can always rely on us at OHP....

Holiday to Kefalonia booked. I am already worried I might hate it.