Thursday, April 03, 2008


A day or so ago, I received email from the Royal Opera House, complete with lovely embedded graphics, about the upcoming premiere of Harrison Birtwhistle's new opera, The Minotaur. There was a link, prominently labeled SEE THE TRAILER.

I clicked the link. At the other end, there's a YouTube video of the librettist, David Harsent, talking. And talking and talking and talking, interspersed with an occasional still photo that I presume to have been taken at rehearsals for the opera. Yes, it's an opera, and the Royal Opera has chosen a talking head to represent the piece in the trailer.

People! It's an opera! Put up some of the music! And even some video from the rehearsals! Whatever you do, do not bore your (potential) audience!!


Henry Holland said...

See, that's what comes from being #12 in the classical blogosphere, you get e-mail from the ROH about Birtwistle premieres! Or did you simply sign up for e-mail updates? :-)

I'm dying to hear The Minotaur. I love Birtwistle's music from ca. Punch and Judy on, but in the last ten years or so, it's taken on an austere lyricism (no, he's not writing TUNES, god forbid!) that's quite appealing.

I think his opera with Russell Hoban, The Second Mrs. Kong is a masterpiece; it's certainly one of my Deserted Island operas. I liked his last stage piece, The Last Supper too and I'd sell my kidney to travel to anywhere that was brave enough to stage The Mask of Orpheus.

It doesn't appear that The Minotaur is being broadcast by the BBC, I'll probably have to wait for a bootleg to hit the BitTorrent sites.

pattyoboe@mac.com said...

My guess is that they couldn't afford the rights to make the music available. Could be an orchestra issue also. Or it could be a copyright issue.

But that's just my silly guessing. I could easily be wrong.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Well....it's a world premiere, at this house; the composer and librettist are presumably involved; the ROH has been doing some broadcasts like the Met broadcasts, though I think to public places. You'd think the contracts would take the possibility of a short preview into account.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Oh, and Henry, I meant to say: yeah, email updates, nothing to do with being #12. (Let's hear it: We're no. 12! We're no. 12!)

Henry Holland said...

Hahaha, yes, I can see that chant catching on at Cal and Stanford games. Oh, wait, it's the Pac *10* :-)

I watched the video, it is kind of Zzzzzz. I thought it was pronounced "Minn(esota)-a-tar", not "Mine-o-tar".

Unintentional hilarity department:

On the ROH site, on their Minotaur page is this:

You May Also Like...

Eugene Onegin

Fine, I like the Tchaikovsky, and the Bizet is a blazing masterpiece, but I think that's all one-way traffic. I can't imagine a link back from those to

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The Minotaur

Lisa Hirsch said...

Ahahaha, yes to all of that, except that Onegin and Carmen are both on my never again list, unless Supervia comes back from the dead.