Archive for the ‘opera’ Category

Britten’s Curlew River

04/02/14

Submerged in the Serpentine by Swizzle Studio on flickr
Submerged in the Serpentine by Swizzle Studio on flickr

One of the great things about living in a city like Cambridge with such a vibrant tradition in classical music is that the student societies are always putting on amazing performances. They are amazingly talented youngsters and the audience is usually packed with their friends which lends a real buzz to things. The Cambridge University Opera Society (CUOS) has put on some wonderful productions since we moved here. They’ve done big operas from the standard repertoire like Eugene Onegin and the forthcoming Don Giovanni (which my son Will recently saw the students at York perform) but also less often staged ones like Pelléas et Mélisande, The Rake’s Progress, and Britten’s The Turn of the Screw.

That last one, The Turn of the Screw was amazing. I blogged about it and it has remained one of my favourite nights at the opera ever. So I am so excited that the CUOS are putting on another of Britten’s smaller ‘operas’, Curlew River. It is on this Friday and Saturday the 7th and 8th of February 2014 in Trinity College Chapel. There’s more information on their website or Facebook event page and tickets are available from the ADC Box Office. It’s a strange and magical piece in which Britten combines aspects of Japanese Noh plays with a medieval church parable. The resulting chamber piece is hauntingly beautiful.

I have seen Curlew River once before, as a late night prom at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004 and there is some video on YouTube of that performance.

The current CUOS committee have also started a series of academic talks to run alongside their productions. The series opened on Saturday at St John’s Divinity School where John Hopkins talked on all aspects of the piece, from its position in Britten’s canon and in the culture of the time through to musical aspects like Britten’s use of heterophony and musical frames.

We are also lucky that the original production was recorded, and further that it is available on Spotify.

See you there!

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Mieczysław Weinberg’s The Passenger at the ENO

25/10/11

it was more than one step for the man by Leszek Golubinski on flickr"it was more than one step for the man" by Leszek Golubinski on flickr

Back on Monday the 19th of September Will & I attended the opening night of ENO’s production of The Passenger, Mieczysław Weinberg’s first opera. It was amazing. Harrowing, but amazing. It’s based on a novel (sadly not available in English) by Zofia Posmysz which in turn is based on her own 1959 Polish radio play Passenger from Cabin Number 45.

Normally when you read opera critics they either talk about the music, the staging, the acting, the costumes, etc. This opera appears to be Marmite to critics – the reviews are varied indeed – and one perplexing theme is a debate as to whether writing and staging an opera set in wartime Auschwitz is valid, or wise at all? I don’t get this. Throughout our history we, as a species, have used storytelling and song to pass knowledge from one generation to another, so that important events that shape our understanding of the world and of ourselves are not forgotten. Surely then the Holocaust is exactly the kind of event we should write stories and music about? In my own experience it is often the story-telling from unexpected genres that brings the impact home. For example the children’s story The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne helped introduce my children to this subject and the graphic novel (i.e. comic book) Maus by Art Spiegelman is a shocking but insightful biography of his father, a Holocaust survivor. There are other more obvious reasons why both Posmysz and Weinberg should be allowed to write about Auschwitz: she was there and he lost his family to the Nazis. But even without that harsh heritage, surely anyone should be at liberty to explore what happened through story-telling and music?

I think so, and I’m excited to be returning this evening (with my wife Kate this time) to see the closing night. To find an opera that is so moving (and harrowing) tackling such necessary subjects in a thoughtful way is rare. And that’s without mentioning the music. I’d never heard of Weinberg but he is great – especially his writing for strings. If you are a Spotify user I’ve put together a playlist, roughly in opus number order, of all I could find there: http://open.spotify.com/user/dumbledad/playlist/5569eNo77PBA4EKsUOP3A6 His music is a weaving together of much that was important in twentieth century composition, and that seems a very modern (and accomplished) approach.

Roll on tonight!

Nico Muhly’s Two Boys at English National Opera

28/06/11

 


"On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog", a cartoon by Peter Steiner published by The New Yorker on July 5, 1993

Yesterday Kate and I went to see Nico Muhly‘s new (and first) opera Two Boys at English National Opera. Kate’s not much of an opera fan but we’d both seen and loved another Muhly premiere, Impossible Things with the Britten Sinfonia, and so it wasn’t hard to persuade her along.

What a great evening it was. We attended the pre-concert talk, part of the ENO’s Join the Conversation: Live series, and it was far fuller than your usual pre-concert talk with three speakers (including Muhly and the video producer Mark Grimmer from 59 Productions) and a brief recital with Muhly accompanying Valerie Reid on the piano as she sung the character Anne Strawson’s opening aria. I learnt tons about the opera and the talk turned my excitement and expectation up to 11!

And we were not disappointed. Two Boys is a fabulous and gripping opera. Beautiful and thought provoking.

The video promised to be beautiful too. I had already seen 59 Productions work with the ENO in Death in Venice, Riders to the Sea, Doctor Atomic, Messiah, Satyagraha, and The Pearl Fishers so I knew how good they could be – neither background nor foreground but subtly integrated into the staging and performance. I was even more excited to find (in the pre-concert talk) that Grimmer had eschewed the usual graphics used to sum up the internet. Initially I was disappointed. When Grimmer said they’d avoided the obvious I assumed he meant they would not use abstract data visualizations of networks. But that is exactly the aesthetic reference they started with! I was left pondering which more conventional imagery they had discarded. But I was not disappointed for long, because the projections were so well done in terms of integration into the action and in terms of balance with the acting and other staging and just so beautiful that I soon forgot my disappointment and just enjoyed them.

The criticism that proved harder to shake was of the subject itself. Back in the early days of the internet there was a real fear that when you were talking with someone on the internet you had no real idea who they were. This fear was summed up perfectly in 1993 (yes 18 years ago) by Peter Steiner in the New Yorker cartoon above. Academics also explored this idea, most notably Sherry Turkle in her 1995 book Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. Perhaps the internet would prove a place of continual identity play where we could be whoever we wanted to pretend to be. But no, that is not what happened, and most of these analyses have been revised, even the cartoon.


Response from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Now we realise that the opposite problem may be more real. Like all teenagers I did things I’d rather forget. And indeed I have forgotten most of them. My children play their lives out in an archived medium and so for them forgetting and reinvention is harder, not easier. Jaron Lanier talks about this (amongst other things) in his book You Are Not a Gadget. But even these new fears are not crippling. I grew up surrounded by cars and find crossing the road relatively easy (though I was taught how to do it). My children grew up surrounded by the interweb and by social media. Though I’ve done my bit to teach them how to use it safely I’m sure it is their generation not mine that will be fluent and safe.

Not that the old fear was without founding, the news event on which Muhly and Lucas based Two Boys was real, as was the Lori Drew / Megan Meier case referred to by Muhly in the programme. But these events are uncommon. Nico Muhly is fluent in interweb, so why choose a hackneyed 1990s fear as the driving plot device? Why not look more subtly at  the problems presented to young and old by the internet? danah boyd’s writings are a great resource for this. Or why not recognise that communication on the internet is less about problems and more about adding depth (and texture) to existing real friendships, as is pointed out in Richard Harper’s recent book.

[N.B. In the interests of full disclosure I ought to point out that Lanier, boyd, and Harper are all colleagues of mine at Microsoft Research.]

My criticism is quite abstract. The concrete detail of the opera was wonderful. The plot was gripping. Kate and I spent the interval sipping pink drinks and trying to guess who the guilty party was, and I’m happy to fess up that I guessed wrong. The production, the set, the video projection, etc. were beautiful and really drew us in. The singing was fabulous, especially the boy soprano Joseph Beesley and the main characters: mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley, tenor Nicky Spence, and soprano Mary Bevan. Above all of that goodness the most memorable part of the evening was the orchestration. I’m sorely tempted to buy tickets for Friday and go and listen again. There were some lovely touching parts and I especially enjoyed the way the tuned percussion was woven together from either side of the orchestra pit, with the glockenspiel and two xylophones (marimbas?) on the far right and the celesta on the left. Fantastic.

Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus at Kings

05/10/10

Judas Maccabaeus menorah 2008 by Sara Hopkins on flickr
Judas Maccabaeus menorah 2008 by Sara Hopkins on flickr

I while back I wrote a blog post in response to the amazing production of Britten’s “Turn of the Screw” put on by the Cambridge University Opera Society. One of the things that made that production so magical was the lad playing Peter Quint, one Matt Sandy. I’ve just picked up the Cambridge University Musical Society brochure for the 2010-2011 season from our post room and notice that Matt (now listed as Matthew – this must be posher) is singing in the CUMS Chorus performance of Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus. It will be at 20:00 on Saturday the 13th in Kings College Chapel. If you don’t know Judas Maccabaeus (I don’t) Spotify has at least two versions: the Sir Charles Mackerras (with the English Chamber Orchestra, Felicity Palmer, Dame Janet Baker, John Shirley-Quirk, …) and the Nicholas McGegan with the Philarmonia Baroque; plus there’s an informative Wikipedia page.

========== EDIT ==========

Darn it – I cannot go. It clashes with a concert by the Cambridge Concert Orchestra at Comberton Village College which I’m playing in.

The All-Seeing Lipid Rides Again

29/04/10

"Scallop Fisheye #2" by slimmer_jimmer on flickr
"Scallop Fisheye #2" by slimmer_jimmer on flickr

Last year was the first year I joined in The Omniscient Mussel‘s #operaplot competition, and I wrote up my entries as a blog post. This week it’s on again for a wonderful third year.

Here are my attempts so far; the second two and a few of the last ones are reposts from last year – that’s allowed 🙂 and my first was the first entry (though I had to delete it and repost as it made no sense with the commas stripped out to fit in a tweet)

Dr Atomic, by John Adams
Batter my heart, three-person’d God, I, except you enthrall me, never shall be free, nor ever chaste, except you ravish me *BOOM*
http://twitter.com/dumbledad/status/12882960561

Peter Grimes, by Benjamin Britten
Sailor abuse; sea; sailor abuse; sea; teacher abuse; sea; child abuse; sea; death; sea
http://twitter.com/dumbledad/status/12883509146

Acis and Galatea, by George Frideric Handel
♀ ♥ shepherd. Shepherd ♥ ♀. Giant ♥ cherry lipped ♀. Giant kills shepherd. ♀ now = divinity who turns dead shepherd into fountain
http://twitter.com/dumbledad/status/12883486213

Káťa Kabanová, by Leoš Janáček
My husband is cold and away. My mother-in-law is a dragon. Would it be vulgar to snog a friend? It was so I’ll drown in the Volga
http://twitter.com/dumbledad/status/12998416796

Noye’s Fludde, by Benjamin Britten
A very cute storm in a teacup, with audience participation
http://twitter.com/dumbledad/status/12998775343

Dido and Aeneas, by Henry Purcell
@belinda Remember me but oh do not archive my tweets.
http://twitter.com/dumbledad/status/13008050254

Bluebeard’s Castle, by Béla Bartók
Do not open http://tinyurl.com/the-7th-door
http://twitter.com/dumbledad/status/13017030747

Tosca, by Giacomo Puccini
3 acts. Key character from Act 1 not seen again. In Act 2 main baddie dies. PLOT FAIL. Quick recover: fake fake death then death
http://twitter.com/dumbledad/status/13150511048

Così fan Tutte, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Women eh! You recon? You’re on. ‘Told ya.
http://twitter.com/dumbledad/status/13150853184

Rusalka, by Antonín Dvořák
Fishy tale of bored teen seeking love. Čury mury fuk. Teen silenced, but her chatty lover lacks constancy. Watery graves for all.
http://twitter.com/dumbledad/status/13150880298

La Traviata, by Giuseppe Verdi
I cannot help falling for an arrogant youngster. Boy does his dad hate me. OK I’ll leave. Wait till I’m dying to love me. Operas!
http://twitter.com/dumbledad/status/13151292714

Pelléas et Mélisande, by Claude Debussy
Rescued you from fountain sorrow why torment me with lust for brother? I’ve killed him. Whose baby is this? What illness is that?
http://twitter.com/dumbledad/status/13151744255

You can follow people’s plotting live on twitter at http://twitter.com/home#search?q=%23operaplot and you can find out more about the amazing judge she’s got this year (Jonas Kaufmann), the truly amazing prizes, and how to take part on The Omniscient Mussel’s blog, but be quick, it ends on Friday the 30th of April 2010:
http://theomniscientmussel.com/2010/04/operaplot-2010-rules-and-faq/

========== edit ==========

And here are the list of entries:

http://theomniscientmussel.com/2010/05/operaplot-update/

Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande

17/02/10

 CUOS Pelléas et Mélisande artwork by Anna Trench
CUOS Pelléas et Mélisande artwork by Anna Trench

Well tonight’s the night. My son and I are off to the opera again. This time it’s just a local one but I couldn’t be more excited. It’s the local students, the Cambridge University Opera Society (CUOS), putting on Debussy‘s Pelléas et Mélisande and we’re going to the opening night.

I’ve been doing some homework. There are three recordings available on Spotify:

  1. Eric Tappy, Gérard Souzay, Erna Spoorenberg, Orchestre De La Suisse Romande & Jean-Marie Auberson
  2. Frederica von Stade/José Van Dam/Berliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan
  3. Roger Desormière/Choeurs Yvonne Gouverné/Orchestre Symphonique de Paris/Dame Maggie Teyte/Alfred Cortot/Mary Garden

CUOS Pelléas et Mélisande, Christopher Stark conducting
Christopher Stark conducting in rehearsal (from Facebook group)

We’ve seen the CUOS perform twice before, both last year. Firstly we saw them do Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and then Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. Both were excellent, but The Turn of the Screw was particularly fine. We went down to see it done professionally at the ENO but the CUOS performance is still our favourite. No small part of that comes from the amazing work of the orchestra, so knowing that the conductor, Christopher Stark, is also conducting the Debussy tonight just adds to the antici … pation.

As an added bonus on the first and last nights there will be short talks given by Professor Robin Holloway and Dr Natasha Grigorian, Cambridge experts on Symbolism, 20th Century Opera and the work of Debussy and Maeterlinck. So we’ll be getting there early for the 19:00 talks’ start, touch wood it won’t be too dry for a 15 year old lad.

There’s also an interesting brief section on Pelléas et Mélisande in the book I’ve just finished, Alex Ross’ The Rest is Noise. Here’s what Ross has to say about the opera (from page 47).

With the opera Pelléas et Mélisande, sketched in the early 1890s and then extensively revised before its 1902 premiere, Debussy created a new kind of drama, using Wagner as raw material. The text is by the Symbolist playwright Maurice Maeterlinck, and, as Strauss would do in Salome, Debussy set Maeterlinck’s play word for word, following its riddling prose wherever it took him. The love triangle of Pelléas, his half brother Golaud, and the inscrutable wandering princess Mélisande moves towards a grim climax, but most of the action takes place offstage; the score places the listener in a liquid medium into which individual psychologies have been submerged. Debussy’s established resources—whole-tone scales, antique modes, attenuated melodies that rise from wavering intervals—conjure an atmosphere of wandering, waiting, yearning, trembling.

Later come glimpses of a beautiful country on the other side. When Pelléas and Mélisande finally confess their love for each other—"I love you," "I love you too," without accompaniment—the orchestra responds with a simple textbook progression moving from a tonic chord to its dominant seventh, except that in Debussy’s spectral scoring it sounds like the dawn of creation. A similar transfiguring simplicity overtakes the prelude to Act V, in which we discover that Mélisande has given birth to a child

Spectral scoring that sounds like the dawn of creation? No pressure then 😉

Josephine Stephenson (Yniold)
Josephine Stephenson (Yniold) in rehearsal (from Facebook group)

Spotify playlist for just Chapter 12 (“Grimes! Grimes!” The Passion of Benjamin Britten) from Alex Ross’ The Rest is Noise

21/01/10

beach sunrise by thornypup on flickr
"beach sunrise" by thornypup

I’m an avid Spotify fan and an avid classical music fan. Over Christmas it was great to finally sit down and get reading Alex Ross’ amazing book "The Rest is Noise" in which he surveys twentieth century classical music. It is an amazing work, stretching to 591 pages. At times it’s too good. One reads Ross describing the works he loves and get so swept up in his descriptions that when you stop and listen to the piece you are left wondering what medications he’s on, and where to buy them 😉

In the book each chapter focuses on a composer, an event, a piece, or a period and brings in piece after piece to contrast and explain the historic people and events. As an appendix he also includes a list of key recordings, and he does the same thing on his blog.

And there’s the problem. Today I found (thanks to a twitter shout out from @spotify retweeting @afront) a fabulous looking blog presenting classical music playlists on spotify: http://www.spotifyclassical.com/ One of ulyssestone’s posts is a Spotify playlist of Ross’ book. Here it is http://open.spotify.com/user/ulyssestone/playlist/50wC6eKC0EImYi20GnWPvH (you’ll need spotify for this to work, sorry. I do have some spare invites if you are in the UK and cannot get in). But although @ulyssestoone has rendered Ross’ iTunes playlist into Spotify, neither capture anything like the wealth of information and the texture of the book. So I’ve attempted to render just one chapter, my favourite, chapter twelve titled "Grimes! Grimes!" to a Spotify playlist. It’s enormous, and even so I had to miss a few pieces that Ross mentions but Spotify do not have (e.g. Britten’s Curlew River). What started out as an exercise to build a companion playlist to the chapter ended up, I think, too huge to be of use (with 664 tracks!), but here it is. Enjoy! http://open.spotify.com/user/dumbledad/playlist/7lRRFKUI1OExQvEDYiM6p3

The Rest Is Noise photo by marklarson
"The Rest Is Noise" photo by marklarson

Can’t get a Screw for years and then two opportunities come at once

18/06/09

I’ve been looking forward to a production of Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of The Screw coming round and now two have turned up! It’s got a very weird plot, which I won’t go into here but you can read about on Wikipedia. First off the Cambridge University Opera Society are doing it in the cloister of Trinity College tonight and then on Saturday and Sunday. Will and I are going tonight. Then the ENO are reviving their McVicar production this Autumn.

ENO has extra info (some video and an excellent podcast) and Spotify has the EMI / Virgin Classics recording available (with Daniel Harding, Ian Bostridge, Joan Rodgers, Julian Leang, Caroline Wise, Jane Henschel,  & Vivian Tierney)

========== EDIT ==========

Wow, you know you’ve seen a great production when you spend the following day listening to the opera again and again. I’ve had that with Partenope at the ENO and with Rusalka and Norma at Seattle Opera. Last night I had it when Will and I went to Cambridge University Opera Society’s The Turn of The Screw. If you are in Cambridge and they have any tickets for Saturday or Sunday I’d snap them up. I’m tempted to go again on Sunday!

The standard was set high by tenor Pablo Strong and pianist Rupert Compston. The opening is so evocative and beautiful, yet also spooky that despite it’s brevity it is very important to the opera. Strong was perfect.

Despite the high bar set by Strong and Compston the rest of the cast were fantastic. Will and I had seen the female leads Joanna Songi and Fiona Mackay (playing the governess and Mrs Grose) in the CUOS production of Eugine Onegin. Songi in particular had such clear diction it was easy to follow the plot.

The two kids, Miles and Flora, were played by women (Katy Ambrose and Verity Trynka-Watson). I thought that might be a problem but the casting was clever in that the singers playing adults were markedly taller than Ambrose  and Trynka-Watson. Miles’ role is so important for this opera and Ambrose’s beautiful singing is still ringing hauntingly around my head the day after.

Another pivotal role is Peter Quint, played last night by Matt Sandy. He was dressed a little bit like a long trousered Billy Bunter, and when I walked past him chatting with the other cast members in the interval he seemed an affable chap. But in character, especially at the opera’s finale, he got it right and was menacingly eerie. It makes me shiver just recalling his performance!

I wanted to add a huge shout-out to the orchestra. It was a small ensemble and most of them had demanding solo roles through the piece which they all handled wonderfully. In good Britten style the percussionist, Jonathan Pease, was rushed off his feet.

So – a fabulous production of what is now one of my favourite operas!

==========================

I forgot to add the twitter operaplot summaries to my original post. Here they are:

http://theomniscientmussel.com/2009/05/operaplot-entries-round-2/#t

@idmbassoon – take a summer job in the country watching 2 nice kids? great! wait…you didn’t mention the crazy ghosts.
D. Kim – Prudish lady moves into country estate. Governess for two creepy kids. Add two sexy ghosts. One big happy family. NOT.
@primalamusica – It’s just like The Sound of Music, but with ghosts & Freudian angst instead of schmaltz & Nazis. And the kids are even creepier
@amndw2 – Kids sing creepy rhymes. Ghosts sing creepy invitations. Yeats is alluded to. Musical duel (governess vs. ghost) kills kid. Malo!

Twitterdee and Twitterdum

06/05/09

File:Tennieldumdee.jpg
John Tenniel’s illustration reproduced on Wikipedia

There are two ways I think about the development of twitter. One is to think of it as an extension of the status messages people set in instant messaging applications like MSN Messenger. Instead of the bland ‘online’ or ‘away’ followed by one’s screen moniker people started changing their names to convey more about what was happening, or just for humorous reasons. This works, for people on your buddy-list but as we saw with the growth of blogging and live journal it’s often easier to broadcast than to choose laboriously which friends should see something. This sense that twitter was all about broadcasting brief status messages is made obvious in Jack Dorsey’s original sketch for the service that became twitter.


twttr sketch” by Jack Dorsey on flickr

Twitter is not alone in providing an easy and effective way to broadcast your status to your friends. Most social network sites also provide this facility. Facebook does, and it provides an application that will automatically copy any status updates (called tweets) that you put on twitter onto Facebook.

That brings me to the other way of thinking about twitter. Twitter tweets are limited to the size of an SMS message so that the updates can be sent naturally from mobile-phones. That would be 160 characters but I think because of smaller SMS sizes in the USA it’s an 140 character limit. So one can also see twitter as the origin of micro-blogging, not just using tweets for status updates but to use them for anything you can blog about in 140 characters. This artful use of a status broadcast service lives happily alongside status updates, because the distinction between a status updates and other things one might blog about is indistinct, but recently the difference caught me out.


Death by Recit” by John and Keturah on flickr

Marcia Adair (aka The Omniscient Mussel) ran her #operaplot competition for the second time. I missed it first time but this time had a star judge and great prizes. The idea is to summarise opera plots as tweets, i.e. to fit the entire plot into 140 characters including the #operaplot tag. You can browse through the amazing results on twitter, or collated into a long list by The Omniscient Mussel here: http://theomniscientmussel.com/2009/05/operaplot-entries-round-2/ and I posted all mine in a blog post earlier. Lots of the summaries people came up with were funny, several limericks, some summaries of the whole ring cycle, etc. For one humorous one I thought I’d do the  first opera I remember going to see, Philip Glass’ Akhnaten at the English National Opera. I went with my Mum back in 1984. Now if I’ve got the date right I was 19 at the time and my strongest memory is of the huge sand stage on which the new city that Akhnaten builds was slowly constructed in miniature. Oh, and that Akhnaten was a hermaphrodite. He’s sung by a counter-tenor, but as a young lad I didn’t know that so all I saw was a topless soprano on stage in a loincloth. Imagine my surprise when the loincloth comes of (to make way for ceremonial robes if I recall correctly) and he’s definitely a man! Anyway this could all be my memory playing tricks on me, but here’s the 130 character plot summary I cam up with for Akhnaten and posted to twitter:

Singer with gorgeous tits and loincloth builds new city to new god on sandpit stage. Off comes loincloth and there’s a willy too!

I was immersed in the fun of The Omniscient Mussel’s #operaplot quiz so I failed to remember that this tweet of mine would be picked up and would automatically become my Facebook status. I’m sure you can imagine the consternation of my present (and past) colleagues that I’m connected to on Facebook!

The Omniscient Mussel hasn’t lost the twitter #operaplot

28/04/09

I’d not seen this before but The Omniscient Mussel has just kicked off the second run of her competition to summarise opera plots into twitter tweets. That gives you 140 characters minus the obligatory #operaplot tag.

Danielle De Niese is a judge (hence the picture at the head of this post) and the prizes include a pair of top price tickets and a complimentary bottle of champagne to the first night of Glyndebourne’s iconic production of Guilio Cesare on May 22nd – featuring Sarah Connolly in the title role and Danielle De Niese as Cleopatra and 4 Box seats to a ENO’s new production of Cosi fan tutte directed by Abbas Kiarostami. How cool is that? I’ve made a start – jump in!

You can search recent ones here: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23operaplot and here are mine so far (sorry about the rude word in the Akhnaten synopsis) …

1) Ralph Vaughan Williams, Riders to the Sea.

5 of 6 sons drowned. Last son off to market in storm. Whoops, all 6 now drowned! Time to relax about the sea.

2) Benjamin Britten, Peter Grimes.

Sailor abuse; sea; sailor abuse; sea; teacher abuse; sea; child abuse; sea; death; sea

3) George Frideric Handel, Acis and Galatea

♀ ♥ shepherd. Shepherd ♥ ♀. Giant ♥ cherry lipped ♀. Giant kills shepherd. ♀ = divinity. God turns dead shepherd into fountain.

4) George Frideric Handel, Acis and Galatea, recent Royal Opera House production.

Stunning ♀ amazing voice has to wear rag-doll wig and perform next to lithe dancer in sheer bodystocking

5) Philip Glass, Akhnaten

Singer with gorgeous tits and loincloth builds new city to new god on sandpit stage. Off comes loincloth and there’s a willy too!

========== EDIT ==========

And another …

6) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Così Fan Tutte

Women eh! You recon? You’re on. ‘Told ya.

========== EDIT ==========

And another …

7) Antonín Dvořák, Rusalka

Fishy tale of bored teen seeking love. Čury mury fuk. Teen silenced, but her chatty lover lacks constancy. Watery graves for all.

========== EDIT ==========

And another (trying to fit in with the current #operaplot craze for limericks) …

8 ) Georges Bizet, Carmen

Men are thinking of sin/as factory girl takes a spin/Love is all bull/the cave only half full/& she’s dead to the cheering within

========== EDIT ==========

Last one, written after getting home from Sunday night’s final performance of the Cambridge Handel Opera Group’s production of

9 ) George Frideric Handel, Ariodante

Genevra loves and dad approves? Too happy for an #operaplot so much ado about nothing brings sadness and death before virtue triumphs again