Not one of my favourite operas, but the theatrical stage direction, superb musical values and wonderful singing make this an interesting viewing
This production of Der Junge Lord was an interesting and wonderfully done one. Der Junge Lord this said is not one of my favourites and probably never will be, for all its technical difficulty, Henze's imagination, gleefully macabre atmosphere and the fact that the music helps to mock the conservative society, its disruptive rhythms, sudden shifts in tonality, lack of any memorable tunes and frolicking structure makes Der Junge Lord an opera that I only appreciate than love. On a visual level, Der Junge Lord is both sumptuous yet haunting while the stage direction is wonderfully theatrical and somewhat choreographic in how it flows with ease. The cinematic video direction helps with this also. The orchestra play powerfully sound so intent and even crazed, and Christoph Von Dohnanyi's conducting is equally adept. Not only do the principals have incredibly difficult music to sing but they also have to battle against a libretto that doesn't properly characterise their roles. Edith Mathis as ever sings very expressively and with great beauty of tone, and Donald Grobe's Wilhelm is equally superb. Otto Graf does much with his character even though Sir Edgar doesn't speak or sing a word. Barry McDaniel is a spokesperson sort of character, and he performs it with unctuous energy. Loren Driscoll is a big part of why the final scene works so well, with the manic dancing and contorted posturing. The challenging vocal lines he has to sing are done with aplomb, especially in the off-camera torture scene. All in all, an interesting viewing though the opera may not be for everybody. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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