Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ariadne Glyndebourne and The Shock of the New

I have just watched Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss streamed live from Glyndebourne which is part of their 2013 Summer Opera Season. It is a work I know and love well.

Wow! Courageous and memorable! I suppose someone had to have to do the dark side of Ariadne. Zerbinetta as an real old slapper with graphic masturbation on the top notes sure knows how to kill off the applause. Must be first time ever that this aria did not bring the house down. I realise it was intentional.

 I am glad that this was not the performance I saw in 1971 with Miles. He might not have married me after that! So having got it out of the system we can all take a deep breath and be truly  original and daring and have the next Ariadne on the brighter side. 

I enjoy this opera, well its really an operetta, but really not like this. I go to Benjamin Britten or Fidelio for the dark side. Now there's an idea for young directors, Fidelio in a holiday camp with the guards as red coats and the prisoners as happy campers! Not nasty in sight. It is all a joke!

However I do enjoy seeing  courageous  performances and one should never be afraid of The shock of the new. It must have taken a lot of thought although a party like this could never have been held in the blackout in say 1940 so one must congratulate the director on being brave and original. Strauss is still very much in copyright and the trustees guard it with their lives. I tried to get the rights for a full orchestral midi of September  Four Last Songs with not one note changed and was refused as it was considered an arrangement. They must be turning in their graves with this and I will no doubt have the rights for every September Midi because they consider my work Original in 7 years time!

I live too far away ever to return to Glyndebourne again so it is wonderful to see the operas. The last time I went was off season in 1996. I was staying in Brighton and I took my aunt for a drive so I could at least see the new opera house from the outside.  We drove up only to be shooed off by a most unpleasant woman who treated me like an intruder and told me to Go away, we're not open in a most unfriendly upper class manner. I had travelled from New Zealand and I felt so embarrassed. My English aunt did not know where to look, the woman was so rude.  I mean even to think of it! She certainly put me in my place!

Glyndebourne had and perhaps still has this reputation for being rude and unapproachable. Britten for one hated it and all my dealings, like trying to buy tickets have been unfortunate. It could be relied upon for a good night out  because even if the opera was mediocre the champagne, picnic and setting could always be relied upon. It was amusing so see the upper classes showing off to the rest of us.

The rude lady I met was typical and was not a good advertisement for Glyndebourne which is a shame but the streaming makes me forget and forgive.

So onto the next Falstaff week of 17 June 2013 so watch out. Looks as if this might be in the same mould. I await with anticipation.

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