Friday, 6 June 2014

ENO Benvenuto Cellini - no groupthink !

Berlioz Benvenuto Cellini at the ENO reviewed by Mark Berry in Opera Today (read the whole piece here)

"First, a sigh of relief: in almost every respect, this new ENO staging of Benvenuto Cellini marks a significant improvement upon Terry Gilliam’s ‘Springtime for Hitler’ Damnation of Faust. If that sounds like faint praise, for beating a ‘Holocaust as entertainment’ travesty is perhaps setting the bar unreasonably low, then such is not entirely the intention. Gilliam’s Cellini has its virtues, though for me they are considerably fewer than they seemed to be for the audience at large. It is far from unreasonable to depict anarchy and ribaldry in the Carnival, and indeed during the ‘carnival’ overture — though Gilliam’s reported remark that ten minutes of music are ‘too long for the audience to sit through waiting for the show to begin’ are unworthy of anyone working in opera. There is nothing wrong in principle with ‘staging’ an overture, but the reason should be better than that; if the results are a little over the top, they are certainly superior to the justification."

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