Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wan love

I've meant to write about the both accomplished (in performance and music) and frustrating (in drama, or lack thereof) concert revival of Antony & Cleopatra that was New York City Opera's entire season, but I'm not sure I can analyze it more thoroughly or insightfully than Mark Adamo did eleven days ago. So do read that, if you haven't.

It seems to me that Barber and Menotti found much in the atmosphere of Cleopatra's Egypt -- overheated, like their unconvincingly-northern Vanessa, but appropriately so here -- but were not much sympathetic to the drier, crisper, more martial virtues (and vices) of Antony and Caesar's Rome. But the two war in Antony's spirit (he got to the pinnacle he reached because of the original strength of his Roman virtues) before they war on land and sea, and the Roman half's virtual omission in the revised version used by NYCO neuters not only the story but the romance, which takes on a certain sickly shut-in character thereby.

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Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.