Monday, August 1, 2011


Capriccio. K wasn't interested, at all. We were still settling down after a long trip and 'ends' were far from meeting as the travel budget estimates, as usual, had well and truly blown out. It was simply the price thing again. Anyway, a special ticket offer email arrived, it would be the last night of what I guessed would be a last run of a well regarded production, Cheryl was pursuing her Strauss trajectory, and what's more, I'd never seen it before!

Marcellous had given fair warning about surtitle and casting issues with a reasoned debate about tolerance and company artistic development. I compromised with E row, close enough to hear and see something, and still be able to follow the chit-chat a bit without too much neck damage.

Well. For all the banter about words and music, needlessly bourgeois as far as I'm concerned, and all the angxt about who to love (why the handsome one with the sexy boots of course - oh, he's your brother - then better stand in front of the mirror and self-adulate) what really interested me was that I, and maybe a good number of the others, was absolutely fascinated by the production. The sound was pretty crap, choked and truncated, and the words just too important that one either had to stay with a fixed neck extension, risk permanent damage, and follow it all, or give it away and go with the general drift. And vocally, overparted comes to mind. I did like hearing, and seeing, Christopher Tonkin for the first time.

But nevermind all that, John Cox did wonderful things with the cast, and that alone is what kept my interest and I wonder how many others. Theatre won! That's the answer. But even Cheryl, in all her generosity, wasn't going to settle for Conal Coad.

It was all terribly elegantly deco, droves of servants suitably subservient to Madame, suitors as wonderfully ambivalent gentlemen of the arts with more eye on the purse than pussy. To her credit, Ms Barker played all this out with considerable aplomb and being the good Australian girl that she is, had all the air of should it all disappear tomorrow, she'd still be just as content, and just as wonderful. She was, I am saying, deliciously self contained, and perhaps that's exactly what this is all about. Whatever else, conform to circumstance and certain outside forces, superficial as they are or maybe, but adapt to whatever whenever and know thyself.

With the taste of the blood of regietheatre still in my mouth, I could well have done with something like this, bombed out Dresden and Susan Gritton thank you very much, but in the absence, can I say, THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE IN ENGLISH. Sheeeesh, if any work demands it, this is it. Give me a break. All that effort, so close and yet so far.


David said...

So John Cox is still toeing the deco line umpteen years after the 1920s Glyndebourne production ruffled the feathers of the Strauss family and they refused to allow it to appear on video. Ever. Shame - Soderstrom was the Countess back then. I remember seeing it on telly as a kid and being baffled. Now I love it, bourgeois or not. You might be amazed by the Paris Opera production done by Carsen - Renee very much at her best, and Anne Sofie flanked by Nazis as Clairon.

wanderer said...

I've been dabbling with the Carsen (he does like the odd fascist uniform doesn't he, I saw his Ring in Shanghai) on youtube - here's a giggle - but now think I ought take the plunge and buy it before the world as we know it finally ends, or will that wait till after the Olympics?