Quartett, Royal Opera House's Linbury Theatre, review: 'A shameful waste of money and talent'
Thursday 19 June 2014
The staging for Luca Francesconi’s Quartett, with a platform bisecting the auditorium beneath a forest of torn gauze, was intriguing.
The composer-librettist had nailed his colours to the mast: taking Heiner Muller’s two-hander based on Les liaisons dangereuses, he would get the protagonists to perform ‘polyphonically’, playing not only each other but also their victims.
And as the lights went up on a woman en deshabillee at one end of the platform, beguiling recorded sounds came as though blown on the wind, and were gracefully taken up by the London Sinfonietta under Andrew Gourlay’s direction: this composer clearly liked perfumed instrumental effects.
But did he like voices? When the woman (Kirstin Chavez) began to sing, it was in painful atonal gasps, which were answered in jagged, jerky phrases by a man in dirty underclothes (Leigh Melrose) who had surfaced opposite her. From then on, things just got worse.
The surtitles – for those few in the audience able to see them – were wall-to-wall pseudery, and the characterisation was crude beyond belief, with the singers made to bawl at each other about frustration, impotence, and putrefaction – and sometimes mount each other - with just the occasional (very necessary) break for a swig of water.
No, this composer had no interest in voices at all, and this staging of his ‘opera’ was a shameful waste of money and talent.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 2 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
London Marathon: Best running songs from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to 'Uptown Funk'
Oldest footage of London landmarks released
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove