Maskarade, Royal Opera House, London
Sunday 25 September 2005
It is difficult to see why Bregenz or Covent Garden thought that staging Maskarade would be a good wheeze. Neilsen may be a respected symphonist, but, as comic operas go, this is the anti-Ariadne. Its first hour is spent in anticipation of the titular masquerade, its second outside the theatre in which it is to happen, its third, somewhat belatedly, in the masquerade itself. The characters are commedia archetypes of young, old, noble, and servant-class lovers. The music is fleetingly pretty, with odd flashes of scoring more imaginative than the melodies to which they are applied. The libretto, meanwhile, has more cheesy rhymes than the Leicestershire Cheese and Limerick Society's bi-annual charity rhymathon.
In fairness to Pountney - who squeezed Douglas Bader and the Marquis de Sade into his tireless translation - and conductor Michael Schonwandt, a pig has never seen so lavish a poke. With designs by Johan Engels (sets), Marie-Jeanne Lecca (costumes), and Wolfgang Göbbel (lighting), Maskarade is a spectacular. Ordinarily, I might balk at a ballet involving Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Madonna. As it was, I was glad of the diversion. Among the cast, Adrian Thompson is outstanding as Arv, while juvenile leads Gail Pearson (Pernille), Kyle Ketelsen (Henrik), Emma Bell (Leonora), and Michael Schade (Leander) sing their under-written roles more sweetly than they deserve to be sung.
To 13 October, 020 7304 4000
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
Lucy, film review: Scarlett Johansson will blow your mind in Luc Besson's complex thriller
Miley Cyrus concert banned on morality grounds in the Dominican Republic
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
American film board gives gay film Love Is Strange R-rating despite no sex or violence
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians