Monday, 16 April 2012

Anna Nicole wins Olivier Awards

Opera isn't what the Olivier Awards are about. They're theatre-oriented,  not music-oriented, so some of their past choices have been odd.

This year the winner of two awards is the ROH Anna Nicole – best music, best director. That means "best opera of the year" which will raise a few eyebrows. The subject herself was tacky, selling her soul for fame, so the opera could hardly be anything else. After the initial shock value wore off, the opera grew on me, as it's actually quite sad, and the music in the second act isn't bad at all.  But best opera? Even considering only the new ones? If anyone should have won an award for this it should have been the ROH Legal Department, combing through every detail avoiding any kind of lawsuit. True to form, Anna Nicole's family tried to make a quick buck by complaining, but didn't get anywhere because everything was public domain, the truth crazier than any fiction. Staging Anna Nicole took genuine courage. If Anna Nicole is revived at the ROH, and Kaspar Holten says it will be one day, I'm going again.  Great fun, though not Immortal Art. Read More HERE and  other posts under the label Turnage)

The ENO wins the prize for Outstanding Achievement in opera for "the breadth and diversity of its artistic programme". The ENO was "nothing if not varied in its 2011 programme", which sounds more like a backhanded compliment than a true accolade. Better to have consistent good quality than mix in a few stinkers. Nobody gets it right all the time. OTOH, the ENO is adventurous. and that's a good thing.  It "takes risks, makes surprising choices, breaks new ground and stages spectacular events". Boring it's not. The one production singled out for an award was Amanda Holden's translation of Rameau's Castor and Pollux. I thought the production was pretty good, and very well conducted, (more here). The Oliviers would have had real credibility if they'd dared cite that for innovation.

Richard Jones wins Best Director for three things : the Royal Opera House Puccini Il Trittico, which really was remarkable (see my review HERE), one of the best productions all year, for his ROH Anna Nicole, ( and also for his Offenbach Tales of Hoffmann at the ENO.

Best Music award goes to Mark-Anthony Turnage for the ROH Anna Nicole and the Sadlers Wells Twice through the heart.

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