Monday, July 18, 2005

Philippe Boesmans's "Julie" and the "Reconnection of Music to Emotions Through Narrative"

Alan Riding, writing in the New York Times,
offers his European-style musical criticism
of works from this year's Aix-En-Provence
festival. He interestingly discusses Phillippe
Boesmans's new operatic treatment of August
Strindberg's "Miss Julie", which is based upon
a libretto by director Luc Bondy and Marie-Louise
Bischofberger. Riding cites Boesmans's aim as
the reconnection of music to emotions through
narrative: "The beauty of some contemporary music
often resides in a search for light," Boesmans says,
"but it is divorced from human feelings. An opera
must be based on the alternation of emotions and
on an interplay of tension and release from tension."

Mr Riding quotes director Luc Bondy as saying that he
kept the opera to 75 minutes because "our ears are not
yet completely acclimatized to contemporary music, and
they continue to seek harmonies which nevertheless
disappeared some 70 years ago." Well, I'm not sure that
is the real reason for the length of this opera, but
you got to say something if you are asked.

Mr Riding also comments on Patrice Chereau's production
of Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutti" and Luc Bondy's production
of Britten's "Turn of the Screw," which was created
in Aix in 2001 and has toured widely since then.


I saw, two times in Vienna at the Odeon, the
Philippe Boesmans - Luc Bondy treatment of Shakespeare's
"The Winter's Tale" [Wintermarchen (1999), available
on DG]. I very muched enjoyed this modern opera,
and I recommend it to American opera companies.
It has a wonderful, unAmerican, trans-European
musical role for the Accordian.

[I saw, two times in Dresden at the Semperoper, Aribert
Riemann's "Lear" (1978), also available on DG, which has
already received its American operatic premiere
in San Francisco, in 1985.]

Fortified Christian Church in Biertan Mare, Romania


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