Now, if you read my opera posts at all, you will know that I am not a fan of most modern opera and the Holocaust subject matter didn't point to a fun evening either. (Why see it then? Well, I like to see all ENO productions and there was also a very good offer on tickets.)
So I am delighted to report that it's stunning. Not necessarily great, but stunning. Interestingly, the Observer reviewer thinks the same way about it that I do and deliberately calls it a master work rather than a masterpiece. Unlike her, I quite liked the ambiguity of the story telling: are the camp scenes her whitewashing her past or what really happened?
It was written in Soviet Russia so even though the composer lost his family in the Holocaust, the plot is an international socialists together one rather than acknowledging the majority of people in Auschwitz were Jewish. Similarly, the husband who discovers that his wife has a Nazi past is pointedly a West German diplomat. It was still banned and its 1968 Bolshoi première cancelled. Amazingly this is the first proper production it's had, first seen at a festival last year. American readers get their chance to see it in 2014.
If I were still in London, I'd be very tempted to see it again. While there are not a lot of tunes, it's much easier on the ear than the wonderful A Dog's Heart production that was also fabulous theatre a couple of years ago. Four performances left, and I'd be amazed if you couldn't get excellent seats cheaply at the official Society of West End Theatre half-price booth at the bottom of Leicester Square.
This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/441532.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.