Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More Contemporary Classical Oratorio/Opera Libretto Publication And Study In The Age Of Digital (And Mechanical) Reproduction

Extract from Ian McEwan's libretto for Michael Berkeley's world premiere opera "For You":

Charles: "It does not touch me, this music of my younger self, when my name was unknown and I lived on nothing but sex and cigarettes and fast food, when I was in love again every other week.

I hear it clearly, each intricate part, I understand it, even admire it, but I cannot feel its passion, the longing, the sharp hunger, the lust for newness of that young man.

It does not touch me now. The car is ready, Sir! The usual table, Maestro? The Minister of Culture is waiting. A famous man with a rich wife — but the dimmed perception, the expiring powers, stamina, boldness, vigour wilting under the weight of years. The long descent to uselessness. Every man's fate, how banal it is, and still it makes me angry, the clock that's beating me to extinction. Stop! Enough! How can I make it stop?"

Nicholas Wroe "A Complicated Beast" The Guardian, Saturday October 18 2008 via On An Overgrown Path.

For You, performed by Music Theatre Wales, opens on
October 28 at the Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House, London.
For You: The Libretto is published by Vintage (£5.99).


Michael Berkeley: "I've always been attracted to slightly dark and turbulent things, although I use quite a lyrical language a lot of the time. My clarinet concerto fits into that, as does my first opera, Baa Baa Black Sheep, which was really about the child abuse suffered by Rudyard Kipling. Equally, in Jane Eyre, there is ultimately a terrible price paid by the characters." [Ian McEwan and Michael Berkeley collaborated on the earlier anti-nuclear war oratorio Or Shall We Die? in the terrible, deep recession/threatened nuclear war, early 1980s.]

Leonard Bernstein, the upper-class, 20th c. American conductor and composer.

Photo credit: (c) PA via The Guardian. Copyright controlled. With thanks.


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