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
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Jeremy Clarkson to host BBC's Have I Got News For You despite Top Gear exit
Kay Burley 'bias' against Ed Miliband prompts 130 complaints to Ofcom
A historian gave the most British look of despair when someone screwed up Richard III's birthday at his reburial
Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
James May hints Top Gear days are over following Jeremy Clarkson's BBC exit
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew