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CLASSICAL  January 2005

CLASSICAL January 2005

Subject:

"Gaddafi" - The Opera That Won't Die

From:

Janos Gereben <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 20 Jan 2005 17:56:14 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (66 lines)

 [When I first saw reports last summer about an opera to be written about
the Libyan ruler, I figured the story will go away.  Apparently, ENO
won't let it.]

   Gaddafi the opera is ailing ENO's latest ticket ploy
   By Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent / The Telegraph

   English National Opera is resorting to shock tactics, once
   again, to fill its seats.  Works in the new season will include
   one about lesbians and another about the life and times of
   Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan leader.

   Gaddafi, a working title, is written by the Asian Dub Foundation
   (ADF), a politically radical ethno-punk band from London.  It
   is to be directed by Peter Sellars, an American who once set
   Mozart on a US freeway.

   In the long history of surprises at ENO - singers seated on
   lavatories, scratch and sniff cards smelling of farts, and
   gang rape - Gaddafi may beat them all.

   It will also put the career of Sean Doran, the company's new
   artistic director, who must improve ENO's fortunes, on the
   line.

   His first season, which starts in September, opens with
   an adaptation of the The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, a
   claustrophobic, sinister and sadistic play followed by a film,
   both by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the German writer and
   director.

   Fassbinder's story is of lesbian love, jealousy and passion
   set in a fashion studio.  Petra von Kant is a self-absorbed
   fashion designer who meets a naive young model with whom she
   becomes obsessed.

   With the Royal Opera going from success to success, ENO has
   been struggling to find a raison d'etre.

   In recent years, it has been on the verge of bankruptcy and
   two years ago audiences slumped to 62 per cent capacity.

   Mr Doran, who previously ran the Perth Festival in Australia,
   said yesterday: "It doesn't matter what genre or style a
   composer comes from, it matters if they have something to
   say."

   The Gaddafi opera, according to ENO, will be "an examination
   of the creation of a myth" and the relationship between the
   Middle East and the West.

   In another piece of radical thinking Anthony Minghella, the
   director of The English Patient, will direct Madam Butterfly,
   his first opera.

   Mr Doran's vision has divided opera critics.  One said: "It's
   commercial suicide - so many expensive new productions of
   little-known works and just one Verdi and one Mozart.  It's
   doomed and it's going to cost a fortune."

   But another was more optimistic: "It looks strong.  He's
   trying to get new audiences and it deserves to work."

Janos Gereben
www.sfcv.org
[log in to unmask]

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