Wednesday, 1 September 2010

A Preview of the Autumn Preview (aka Pre Recycling of Posts)

Photo from here

Dust off your tuxedos, unmoth your gowns, spit on your shoes and starch your undies; WNO's season opening Fidelio will soon be with us! Although the two Ps of international season openings will be absent (paparazzi, plastic [surgery devotees]) there is no denying the sense of expectation that has been building in some tents over the summer break. But what's this? Turbulence in the anticipation? Ye gods and forsooth an army of Macbeth's finest hags! Following the ecstatic end to the 2009 / 2010 season with Meistersinger at the Proms WNO's groove has been grived with John Fisher's decision not to renew his contract next summer. All of a sudden things have become complicated and confusing. It's like an old fashioned Saturday morning at the pictures cliff-hanger. Will WNO Get Its Groove Back? Will I Learn To Punctuate? Will management at the Wales Milennium Centre stick up better toilet signs? The only way to find out is to get on over to the opening jive of the jamboree later this month.

So what's on offer at WNO this autumn? Well, obviously Fidelio since I've already mentioned it. It's often been described as a hymn to freedom and humanity, but never as an examination of a rare outbreak of Chronic Gullibility Syndrome in 18th century Seville. A recent critical paper, by myself, has proven to be a controversial, yet groundbreaking event among Beethoven scholars and I will reveal my findings in a future post – I couldn't believe they were all so thick: Leonora lets her hair down with Hair Man at the Opera.

The second offering is Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. Playing out like a metaopera it's a new one on me and as such I've decided to award it with Getting to know...with Hair Man at the Opera status. I can't promise you a comprehensive understanding of plot, musical structure or anything else of worth so you may want to skip those posts. But you'll know this already.

The last work to trill the boards during the autumn will be The Magic Flute. I'll moan once again about it being sung in English but it's still brimming with Mozartian goodies and will more than likely be the top seller of the Season of the Falling Leaves*. To get your juices flowing WNO have created an entertaining website including an addictive game where you control an itty bitty Papageno trying to catch flutes and bells in a net. If that isn't enough interactive action for you there's also a Zaubertwitter page where you can catch up with the behind the scenes preparations.

In-Game Papageno action - look out for the umbrellas!

I'll now bid you adieu and hope, with a flourish of my gleaming, golden, gorgeous locks that you make it to Cardiff, Swansea, Bristol, Liverpool, Birmingham, Llandudno, Southampton or Oxford this autumn!

*I'd like to lay claim to this wonderful little description but it's a reference to a cycling race in Italy, Il Giro di Lombardia / The Tour of Lombardy, also known as the Classica delle foglie morte / The Race of the falling (dying) leaves.

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