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Performances

17 Nov 2004

WSJ Reviews Le Grande Macabre and The Flying Dutchman at the SFO

Waiting for the End of the World By HEIDI WALESON [WSJ] November 17, 2004 San Francisco Many listeners know Gyorgy Ligeti from the creepily futuristic orchestral music in the soundtrack of the 1968 movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” His opera “Le Grand Macabre” (1978, revised in 1996), given its American premiere this month by the San Francisco Opera, is a thoroughly different creature, yet it is just as much an artifact of its time. Though carefully crafted and full of compositional references, the score is mostly an elbow-in-the-ribs accompaniment to a nihilistic black comedy. Beginning with an opening fanfare for car horns that sounds like Harpo Marx multiplied and continuing with a parody of the “Dies Irae,” the prophecy of the Day of Judgment, the opera is a soulless and often scatological joke.

Waiting for the End of the World

By HEIDI WALESON [WSJ]
November 17, 2004

San Francisco

Many listeners know Gyorgy Ligeti from the creepily futuristic orchestral music in the soundtrack of the 1968 movie "2001: A Space Odyssey." His opera "Le Grand Macabre" (1978, revised in 1996), given its American premiere this month by the San Francisco Opera, is a thoroughly different creature, yet it is just as much an artifact of its time. Though carefully crafted and full of compositional references, the score is mostly an elbow-in-the-ribs accompaniment to a nihilistic black comedy. Beginning with an opening fanfare for car horns that sounds like Harpo Marx multiplied and continuing with a parody of the "Dies Irae," the prophecy of the Day of Judgment, the opera is a soulless and often scatological joke.

[Click here for remainder of article (subscription to Wall Street Journal Online required).]


Cast information (Le Grande Macabre):

Piet The Pot — Graham Clark
Amando — Sara Fulgoni
Amanda — Anne-Sophie Duprels
Nekrotzar — Willard White
Astradamors — Clive Bayley
Mescalina — Susanne Resmark
Venus/Gepopo — Caroline Stein
Prince Go-Go — Gerald Thompson
White Politician — John Duykers
Black Politician — Joshua Bloom

Additional information on Le Grande Macabre here.

Cast information (The Flying Dutchman):

The Dutchman — Juha Uusitalo
Senta — Nina Stemme
Erik — Christopher Ventris
Daland — Walter Fink

Additional information on The Flying Dutchman here.

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