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.
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Grace Dent on TV: Peter Kay's Car Share made me genuinely LOL
Avengers: Age of Ultron set to make box office history with $84.5m US opening
The highly NSFW poster for Gaspar Noé's Love makes Nymphomaniac look like 50 Shades
Red Dwarf returns: Craig Charles quits Coronation Street to return to comedy sci-fi series
New on Netflix UK May 2015: From Fast & Furious 6 to World War Z and Grace and Frankie
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils