Love And Other Demons, Glyndebourne Festival, Glyndebourne
Thursday 14 August 2008
Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novella, upon which this work is based, certainly suggests opera: a total eclipse of the sun, a rabid dog, a girl named Sierva Maria de Todos los Angeles, a priest whose compassion turns to forbidden love, a monstrous exorcism. The "demons" of the title are prejudice and intolerance. Love dies, innocence dies in a climate of suspicion and mistrust.
But have Peter Eotvos and his librettist Kornel Hamvai successfully realised the "magic realism" of the novel? Yes and no.
What we have is the framework of a play infused with music. Eotvos sets his text as heightened speech, the better to convey the words, which are ritualised, carried on an instrumental current that behaves like underscoring, recalling Eotvos's early days as a composer of incidental theatre music. But here his music is organic and superbly accomplished, upper and lower frequencies set in thrilling opposition to suggest the opposing forces that eventually tear our heroine apart.
But the "songs", such as they are, feel subsumed by the relentless lento pacing of the score. It's as if the whole evening is under hypnosis. There is plenty of variety, you just don't feel it. But you do remember the haunting juxtaposition of religious chant and Sierva Maria's birdlike pyrotechnics, wonderfully handled by a fearless Allison Bell – the suppressed lyricism of Father Delaura (Nathan Gunn), the anguish of Maria's father Don Ygnacio (Robert Brubaker).
In Helmut Sturmer's striking design there's a suggestion of excavation in the remnants of Don Ygnacio's mansion: we're digging into the past to shape the future. But the future is bleak; there is no harmony of ideas. "Rabies of the soul" infects everyone but Sierva Maria and her would-be saviour Delaura. The scene where his healing turns seductive is beautifully handled by director Silviu Purcarete, the first embrace clinching a forbidding unison crescendo in the orchestra.
Indeed, under Vladimir Jurowski, the London Philharmonic shimmers and growls evocatively, and, surfeit of "meaningful" projections aside, Purcarete's production delivers.
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
Skrillex and Diplo's 24-hour DJ set shut down by police after 18 hours
Drake matches The Beatles' record with 14 singles in top 100 chart at the same time
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl: First look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Justin Kelly interview: On James Franco playing a gay man who renounces his homosexuality
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts