Sunday, November 30, 2008

Their incredible screaming vitality ...


We went to Glyndebourne's controversial new Hänsel und Gretel on Friday. I can understand why this Hansel in a supermarket (above) and cardboard box (below) from French director Laurent Pelly may not be to everyone's tastes. But, we thought this one of the most uplifting and life-affirming evening's we have spent in the theatre for years. Special mentions for Elizabeth DeShong as Hänsel, Bernarda Bobro as Gretel (both above), conductor Robin Ticciati, and the Glyndebourne Touring orchestra. They did full justice to Engelbert Humperdink's ravishing score despite the Theatre Royal, Norwich's dry as as a bone acoustics. The rapturous reception of the Norwich audience to this wonderful evening of live music reminded me of Steve Hagen's words in his 1997 book Buddhism: Plain and Simple:
... As the millenium draws to a close, we've become jaded about great art and music simply because, with our technology, we've made it all too commonplace. When we can see reproductions of van Gogh's Sunflowers regularly, we no longer see their incredible screaming vitality. And how much power is left in Beethoven's Fifth Symphony after the hundredth hearing? (It might help to remember that for the people of Beethoven's day, just hearing it at all would be a rare event.)

To avoid becoming any more jaded I'm off up a French mountain for a while, so the path will be taking a break. Support other music blogs while I'm away, and here's some more van Gogh.

Tickets for Hänsel und Gretel were purchased from Theatre Royal, Norwich. Photo credits Glyndebourne. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

1 comment:

Gavin Plumley said...

Excellent to see a production which the critics took against being defended... not least because all the people I know who saw it said the same. That said, Hänsel does seem to resemble Wee Jimmy Krankie just a little.