The rape of Opera

The rape of Opera

The recent production of Guillame Tell at ROH marked a threshold: the literalisation of a woman’s rape on stage. We all know that opera is a violent artform: Gilda gets stabbed, Tosca kills Scarpia who has Mario tortured and killed and then in turn she kills herself...
Latin flavours

Latin flavours

I’m writing this post listening to a great recording of Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic playing “Batuque” by Oscar Fernandez. The juxtaposition of major and minor and the driving rhythm of this dance make the piece absolutely compelling. It has somehow...
On singers’ size

On singers’ size

Dear music critics of the London Times, I have read quite a few of your opera critiques: more often than not, they seem to carry on the dangerous habit of focusing on something unrelated to the core of a performance. Going back only one year, in your opinion Tara...
Is structure mandatory?

Is structure mandatory?

Some say it’s essential to have a structure before you start writing anything. I don’t quite share that opinion, at least not completely. A structure can be very useful, but also very constraining. Personally, I form an idea of the whole piece once I’ve started it,...
Gumption ‘n Rose

Gumption ‘n Rose

Rose Beuret, long life companion of Rodin, was not initially part of the plan. After all the opera already had two main female charachters, the old and the young Camille. But one night, while writing the duet in the second act between Camille and Rodin, she simply...
Creation’s fever

Creation’s fever

For a long time I thought it was just a myth, an old wives tale that people like to ramble about to look cool. Until I experienced it first hand. I was writing the libretto for the opera “Camille Claudel” and abruptely Rose, Rodin’s wife, came into the scene. The...

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