Thursday, June 08, 2006

Delayed Monster Opera "Grendel" To Open In Los Angeles Tonight; Will Then Slouch To New York City

"Having spent more than a decade dwelling on a monster and a dragon, Elliot Goldenthal gained some insight into the audience for "Grendel," which will have its delayed world premiere Thursday night.

"It's has the potential to appeal to a lot of weirdoes," he said, with the slightest hint of humor. "It's quirky, basically a 2 1/2-hour internal monologue."

Based on John Gardner's novel, "Grendel" retells the story of "Beowulf" from the monster's point of view. The premiere production by Tony winner Julie Taymor, Goldenthal's longtime partner, opens at the Los Angeles Opera and stars bass Eric Owens in the title role and mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves as the dragon. Following the West Coast run, it will travel to New York's Lincoln Center Festival for performances starting July 11....

It's full title is "Grendel: Transcendence of The Great Big Bad."

Taymor and J.D. McClatchy co-wrote the libretto, which includes substantial stretches of Old English, such as "Forwat hine seaxe/Gefylle hine staefe." ("Stab it with a knife/Hit it with a stick.")

"It's more lyrical than I imagined," Goldenthal said.

An Academy Award winner for the original score of "Frida," Goldenthal has a haunting composing style for "Grendel." Based on a short excerpt provided by his staff, it somewhat reminds the listener of Britten, a modernized version with some electronic music thrown in.

His best-known classical work until now has been "Fire Water Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio," which was commissioned by the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and premiered 11 years ago to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the war's end." ...

Associated Press Ronald Blum "Monster opera: `Grendel' ready for debut" June 7, 2006

Zoomorphic Head on a Foot
Northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo; undetermined people
The Menil Collection

Image credit: (c) The Menil Collection. With thanks.


Post a Comment

<< Home