Tonight at the ENO - Ralph Vaughan Williams The Pilgrim's Progress.Yoshi Oida directs.(MY REVIEW IS HERE). That's seriously important. As I wrote in April about the ENO 2012-13 season, The Pilgrim's Progress is "not an "easy" opera, and needs a director who understands stylized allegory. The reason that this will be important is the choice of director, Yoshi Oida. Oida is astoundingly sensitive. His Britten Death in Venice was exceptional. (read more here) It ran within a month of the ENO Deborah Warner Death in Venice. Two drastically opposite approaches.Warner's was high on glossy fashion shoot glamour, Aschenbach relegated to the sidelines in every way. Oida's approach was psychological, with Aschenbach foremost, action happening around him and in his mind."
This is absolutely pertinent to The Pilgrim's Progress, since that too is more allegory than opera, Expect a "storyline" and big numbers and you'd be stumped. If anyone can pull this spiritual saga off, it's Yoshi Oida.
So take the opportunity to watch Yoshi Oida's production of Benjamin Britrten's Curlew River from the Aix en Provence Festival. In Curlew River a boy has been kidnapped and probably murdered. His mother, maddened by grief, searches for him but cannot cross the river on her own. Emotionally, this is one of Britten's most traumatic pieces, for the feelings are so raw that it's hard to concentrate. Anyone who thinks Britten wasn't traumatized by the loss of innocence has no idea about Britten at all. Oida's staging is so stark that you're hypnotized by the sheer horror of the psychic dilemma. This seminally important production of Britten's Curlew River is now available for downlaod on Classical TV. You might have to pay to view, but it's worth it.