I generally seek out new operas for the joy of hearing something new. There are a lot of modern operas I have seen and enjoyed. A favorite experience is Messiaen's Saint-François d'Assise. And I really love Lulu.
But my last two assignments have been failures.
Die Gezeichneten by Franz Schreker violates the rule of three baritones: "Do not go to an opera with three or more baritones." I want girl's singing. I liked Moby Dick a lot in spite of the all male plot. But Schreker's opera has only one female and doesn't really work for me.
Hamlet by Brett Dean is sort of Shakespeare and sort of not. A lot of familiar text shows up, usually in the wrong place. Tomlinson is wonderful. The music is a lot like background for a horror movie and much too talky. I have a while to get through it so I'll try more later.
I keep thinking modernism should be dead by now.
So I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for Tannhäuser on Sunday, which will be a cross between The Hunger Games and Star Wars. Instead of Venusberg we have Venusfleischberg (mountain of flesh). Wish me luck.
Coming Up at San Francisco Opera
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