Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Makropulos Affair

Conductor: Esa-Pekka Salonen
Stage director: Christoph Marthaler

Angela Denoke (Emilia Marty),
Raymond Very (Albert Gregor),
Peter Hoare (Vitek),
Jurgita Adamonyte (Krista),
Johan Reuter (Jaroslav Prus)

From the Salzburg Festival in 2011: The Makropulos Affair by Leos Janácek (1854-1928) is streamed through a site called Never In New York.  On the left is what can only be the smoking room.  I recognize it from my travels in Europe where similar rooms appear.  It took me a long time to make out the rest of the stage.  It seems to have everything.  The center of the stage represents a court room.  On the right is a waiting area with a plant room behind.  Most of the action takes place in the center, but people wander in and out of the other areas.

The heroine's real name is Elina Makropulos, and she was the test subject for a potion that would make the king live 300 years.  The king never took it, but here she is at 337, and it appears she is finally dying.  So people won't notice, she changes her name and gives herself a new life.  Each new name has the initials EM.  Over the course of the opera she meets her own great great grandson, an old boyfriend, etc.

It started very low key and almost got boring, but once Emilia starts revealing why she is here, it picks up.  If you haven't seen this opera, try this one.  Or even if you have.


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