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CLASSICAL  May 2007

CLASSICAL May 2007

Subject:

Colin Graham's "Karenina"

From:

Janos Gereben <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 5 May 2007 18:58:45 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (56 lines)

http://www.thestar.com/artsentertainment/article/210195

   Tolstoy thrives under brave Miami opera
   Avoids pitfalls of adapting classics
   William Littler / Toronto Star
   
   MIAMI - "Bravery in art takes many forms a - " among the more
   worrisome the habit of creating new works based on established
   masterpieces.
   
   The Germans have never forgiven Charles Gounod for his operatic
   sentimentalization of Goethe's Faust.  Spanish eyes roll heavenward
   at the mention of Mitch Leighs's musical vulgarization of
   Cervantes' Don Quixote as Man of La Mancha.
   
   And now we can only guess what the Russians will think of what
   has just happened in Miami: the transformation of a Leo Tolstoy
   novel of 700-odd pages into a two-act opera with music by the
   American composer David Carlson.
   
   Anna Karenina is one of those sprawling, tear-soaked 19th-century
   tomes we tend to tackle during our emotionally vulnerable years.
   Readers may recall the hero of Philip Roth's 20th-century novel
   Goodbye Columbus even remarks at one point he always knows when
   it is spring because his young sister is reading Anna Karenina
   again.

   It is one thing to suffer vicariously through its passionate
   pages.  Imagining how the novel's many subplots and introspective
   characters can be condensed into one musical evening is something
   else entirely.
   
   One of the great might-have-beens of 20th century opera is the
   Anna Karenina the English composer Benjamin Britten had planned
   to write for production at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.  When
   Soviet troops invaded Prague in 1968, Britten abruptly withdrew
   from the project, leaving his intended librettist, Colin Graham,
   with a fistful of preliminary sketches.
   
   Many years later, after attending St.  Louis Opera Theatre's
   premiere of David Carlson's first opera, The Midnight Angel,
   Graham showed the California-born composer the sketches and
   the two men decided to pick up where Britten had left off, with
   Florida Grand Opera eventually offering them a commissioning fee
   so the company could ornament the opening season in its proposed
   new home with a high-profile world premiere.  ...

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

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