Saturday, 17 August 2013

Tippett : The Midsummer Marriage Prom 45

Michael Tippett The Midsummer Marriage BBC Prom 45 reviewed by Robert Hugill in Opera Today

Compare Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage (1955) with Benjamin Britten's A Midsummers Nights Dream (1960). Tippett's studied, self-conscious earnestness doesn't fit well with Shakespeare, which is perhaps why the plot diverges.  Britten's approach is altogether more magical, and for that matter, genuinely musical. This photo shows Tippett's uncanny resemblance to HRH Prince Charles. Secret Twins! Think about that and the more troubling connotations. If Tippett serves no other purpose, he is a reminder of how much British music owes Benjamin Britten.

"Sir Michael Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage has a lot of things against it, it requires a large cast including dancers and a large chorus and orchestra, the plot with its elements of Jungian analysis is confusing, the composer's libretto with its colloquial elements now sounds rather dated and frankly a bit embarrassing.

But you only have to listen to the music to be entranced. From the opening moments of Sir Andrew Davis's performance with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall on 16 August 2013, you knew that you were in for a very special occasion."

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