10 Jul 2006
The Beast Who Became an Opera — Lincoln Center Festival 2006
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
Even monsters have mothers. That message is at the heart of John Gardner's 1971 novel "Grendel," a reshaping of the 10th-century Danish tale, "Beowulf." While that epic is named for the warrior-hero who slays a murderous beast, Mr. Gardner's story is told from the point of view of the beast, Grendel. And in his novel, the repulsive, Dane-eating monster appears more recognizably human than any of the stiff-necked, blinkered men who seek his demise.