ENO to Premiere Opera About Beloved World Statesman

Locked
Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

ENO to Premiere Opera About Beloved World Statesman

Post by Ralph » Fri May 05, 2006 7:05 am

Yahoo! News
London theater to stage "Gaddafi" ... the opera

By Mike Collett-WhiteThu May 4, 9:31 AM ET

With a new production about Libya's colorful leader Muammar Gaddafi, the English National Opera boldly goes where no opera house has gone before.

"Gaddafi," which opens in September, will feature Asian beats and rap in place of arias and romance, and the title role will be performed by a 39-year-old Irish-Indian nightclub MC called JC-001.

The opera tackles some of Libya's most controversial moments on the world stage, including U.S. attacks on the country in 1986, the Lockerbie disaster of 1988 and the shooting of police officer Yvonne Fletcher outside Libya's London embassy in 1984.

Little wonder its creators see the project as high risk for one of Britain's two main opera houses.

"It's absolutely unprecedented," said Steve Chandra Savale of the Asian Dub Foundation, who composed the music.

"It's totally unexpected. Some might say it's insane," he told Reuters. "But I like that. I don't see that as a negative thing. The ENO has shown great vision."

At a workshop rehearsal in West London, JC-001, dressed in khaki fatigues and sporting dark glasses, utters totalitarian mantras like: "Women, free yourselves from the imams" and "Guns are beauty. With them you are angels of revolutionary purity."

Two "revolutionary nuns," modeled on Gaddafi's infamous female bodyguards, tout replica rifles as they sing: "God keep our leader safe" and "For him we give up our mind and beauty."

Savale and director David Freeman insist the opera is not a spoof of a leader often portrayed in the West as a loose cannon and dictator, but who has won his way back into U.S. and British affections in recent years.

"The piece certainly doesn't present him in a purely positive light," Freeman explained.

"That would be, I think, ridiculous. But at the same time he has done many positive things within Libya as well as some negative ones. I think it's a provocation, and I think that's one of the things that art should do."

"GADDAFI - SUPERSTAR"

Savale believes Gaddafi is not as strange a subject for an opera as some might think.

"There was a term in this book: 'Gaddafi Superstar'. I thought, 'wouldn't that be great, wouldn't that be the complete opposite of something like Andrew Lloyd Webber?'

"The more I looked into it the more I thought it would work; the sheer adulation of Gaddafi, the cult of personality ... the fact that he's quite narcissistic, very concerned about his image. All of this says to me theater, music."

Freeman added that the opera, which goes into full rehearsal in June, also deals with changing attitudes toward Gaddafi.

"In a way it's about the myth of Gaddafi, who was after all public enemy number one in the 1980s and is now our dear friend because he is the enemy of fundamentalists, I suppose."

The opera traces the life of Gaddafi, who was born in 1942, from his toppling of the king in 1969 to the present day, during which time, Freeman says, he has constantly reinvented himself but managed to rule his oil-rich state virtually unchallenged.

While the ENO is braced for a backlash from opera buffs who are likely to question the staging of such a work in a major opera house, Savale argues that the venue is perfect.

"It turned out that an organization that I would least have expected to take interest took interest.

"It makes sense that space for real creativity and challenge will open up in unexpected places. I always want to be surprised by things, I want to see things I haven't seen before. Wherever that comes from I welcome it."
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 05, 2006 2:53 pm

This really belongs in the thread "Humor in Music."
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Lark Ascending
Posts: 95
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:53 pm
Location: Great Britain

Post by Lark Ascending » Fri May 05, 2006 3:28 pm

Is this a late April 1st joke? It certainly won't get me within a mile of the opera house - very poor taste indeed.
"Look here, I have given up my time, my work, my friends and my career to come here and learn from you, and I am not going to write a petit menuet dans le style de Mozart." - Ralph Vaughan Williams to Maurice Ravel

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 05, 2006 3:35 pm

Lark Ascending wrote:Is this a late April 1st joke? It certainly won't get me within a mile of the opera house - very poor taste indeed.
Yeah. More moral cowardice from the guys who probably would have produced Springtime for Hitler if Mel Brooks hadn't made a lucrative joke out of it.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Fri May 05, 2006 3:45 pm

The report is for real.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 05, 2006 4:05 pm

Ralph wrote:The report is for real.
I have no doubt that it is. Just the kinda thing to charm Europeans.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Fri May 05, 2006 4:42 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:The report is for real.
I have no doubt that it is. Just the kinda thing to charm Europeans.
*****

Yeah, too many Jews in Gotham for the Met to take a chance. But next season's premiere here of "Pol Pot" should stir things up a bit. I have my ticket already.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests