Lorin Maazel’s 1984

Sat Jun 18, 2005 1:29 pm
Many radio stations this weekend are airing the rebroadcast of Lorin Maazel’s opera based on Orwell’s 1984. Check your local listings if you are interested. There has been a lot of talk about it since the premiere a few weeks ago and I am curious to hear it myself.

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~ by severalfourmany on June 18, 2005.

2 Responses to “Lorin Maazel’s 1984”

  1. Sat Jun 18, 2005 4:45 pm
    I just tuned in, a bit late. It’s certainly not your “comfort opera.”

  2. Read the book lately? It’s one of the most relentlessly grim stories ever written. I am surprised that I like the music so much. From what I have heard so far it has one of the most engaging and interesting opera scores written in the last twenty years. Interesting because the reviews were unanimously terrible.

    Let me see if I can find a few choice quotes:

    “This is vanity opera reeking of the age of celebrity, given a home by Covent Garden on a deal which sets a troubling precedent. Can any wealthy wannabe rent our national opera house for a week? Let the answer, in Orwell’s newspeak, be an emphatic Unyes. Let’s subsidise new operas by bona-fide composers.”
    Anthony Holden, The Observer

    “However lavish the money and talents spent on this work nothing could rescue it from its multiple weaknesses. The first problem is that Maazel has no distinctive musical language. His style is monochrome and derivative in the extreme, and from where I was sitting lacked any interesting orchestral colours or vocal details. The music never made any of the text seem enhanced or interpreted by the music; it seemed more like a play set to coincidental music.”
    Roderick Swanston, The Time Literary Supplement

    Unlike the U.S., the British press gets pretty excited and hyperbolic about their classical music. Here we either blandly praise everything or ignore it completely.

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