Cher Public

The lady in question

Though he composed several entries in the newly invented form of opera, Alessandro Stradella was better known for church music including oratorio, dramatizations of Biblical incidents. He set texts sympathetically (and sensuously), and possessed a melodic gift that would have conquered the world in a later age.  Read more »

Too much, too soon

“Too many notes,” tut-tuts Habsburg Emperor Joseph II upon sitting through Seraglio in the Shaffer biopic, Amadeus. Brace yourselves for some sacrilege, folks: it’s a sentiment I sometimes share when it comes, gasp, to Mozart.  Read more »

Fixing the fan

Cio-Cio and Carmen: what do you do with two tragic heroines who typify not just the sexist clichés, but also the soupy exotic fixations, of the Old-World West? Well, if you’re Heartbeat Opera, you take those two hapless maidens, doll them up in headphones and Hello Kitty merch, and push them to the front of a corrective double bill.  Read more »

Women past the verge

LuciaIn Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche tersely writes: “In revenge and in love, a woman is more barbaric than man.” Let’s be honest: it takes a man to write something so tone deaf, so blind to the repressive systems that regularly bind women in love and politics.  Read more »