(foto David Dickson)

söndag 13 mars 2011

GÖTEBORGSOPERAN: G. F. Handel for the Opera Lovers of Modernity

The story about Alcina, the sorceress and her magical island of love carries as much existential meaning for the 21st-century audience as it did when it was first performed in London in 1735. To move minds and emotions is what the opera at its best can do. The Göteborg 2011 version of Alcina is completely successful in this.

In Handel’s Alcina, the sorceress of love suggests the earnestness as well as the near-hysteria with which people try to fill their lives with meaning in the face of existential emptiness and death. The original story with its scenes of disguise and and identity shifts muddles the limits of gender and personality and brings the existential conflict between life’s emptiness and meaning into focus. The original music and poetry converge the sacral and the secular in a non-ecclesiastic spirituality that is antecedent to modernity.

In the Gothenburg production, the original focus on existential conflict is emphasized by a daringly stylized scenography. In setting the intrigues of love and dominance within a scenic frame characterized by its sparseness of ornamentation, the music, song and poetry are given great force. The catacomb-like setting, suggestive of emptiness and confinement allows the poetry and the god-gifted singing to strike the minds of the audience with full impact.
Göteborgsoperan’s Alcina is an absolute must for the modern lover of opera.

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