badly in Act One. when he kills the father of one of the women he is pursuing. After a spot of raping and pillaging. in a fit of bravura. Giovanni invites the statue of the man he has murdered to supper. Surprisingly. the statue accepts. In a noisy and gruesome finale. the earth opens and Don Giovanni is plunged into hell. Highlights: Giovanni: La ci darem la mano — Give me your hand
Interval chat: To appreciate fully the sexual politics of Don Giovanni. you should have seen the all-female. nude. Mexican production (performed Edinburgh 1989). Failing that. we recommend a crash course on Gender Studies, specialising in ‘Machismo in Italian Opera‘.
l Madame Butterfly (Puccini)
Nagasaki. early l9()()s. American naval ‘
officer Pinkerton marries the beautiful Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly). winning himself a few nights of passion and losing her her honour. her family and her virginity. Pinkerton returns to America and she waits three years for him. with their child. refusing to believe the news — broken to her by the American consul — that he has married again. When he returns to Nagasaki with his new wife. Butterfly commits hari-kari. first making a symbolic gift of an American flag to their child. Highlights: Humming Chorus; Butterfly: L’n bel di vedrcmo — One fine day
Inten'al chat: Really anything to do with American Imperialism in developing countries. especially Vietnam. will do. Draw clever comparisons between Madame
Butterfly and Miss Saigon. or even Puccini and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Suggest Jane Fonda for the screen role of Madame Butterfly.
l The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart)
()r ‘The Barber of Seville Two‘. Figaro is still a happy-go-Iucky. razor-touting barber. but now he is engaged to the
I maid. Susanna. of the Count he helped out in the last opera. The Count fancies
Susanna too and there are a few farcical attempts to set the Count up. involving a bit ofcross dressing and sotne running about in the garden (Mozartian
equivalent of Benny Hill). Figaro gets : his girl in the end. and the Count is
3 Highlights: Cherubino: Voi che sapete : — You who understand
Interval chat: Promote Mozart as a political activist. mentioning that he composed this opera shortly after the
: abolition ofthe ‘droit de seigneur‘
which allowed a squire to sleep with his maid on her wedding night. Discuss shoddy plight of female servants in opera generally.
I La Traviata (Verdi)
The ‘fallen woman‘ is Violetta. a beautiful Parisian socialite with a nasty cough given to throwing lavish parties. At one of these. a handsome young suitor. Alfredo. persuades her to give up her shallow urban life and live with him in rural bliss. Violetta thrives in the country. but not for long: her father. Germont. accuses her of bcsmirching the family's honour and she returns tearfully to Paris. where she falls gravely ill. A remorseful Germont
allows the lovers to be reunited. but it is
IN A DEMOCRACY THE PEOPLE HAVE A CHOICE
ELEVEN CHOICE CUTS FROM THE I993 MAYFEST PROGRAMME CLARENCE FOUNTAIN & THE FIVE BLIND eovs or ALABAMA - jULlAN CLARY -
too late. Alfredo runs to sweep Violetta up in ajoyous embrace. and she dies in his arms.
Highlights: Alfredo and Violetta: Un di felice — Happy one day
Interval chat: Has Violetta really fallen far enough tojustify her unkind nickname? Was her decadent lifestyle responsible for the tuberculosis? Did Alfredo squeeze too hard in the last scene?
I Turandot (Puccini) Turandot. cruel Princess of Peking. announces that she will only marry the man who can correctly answer three riddles. livery other suitor must die. The unknown Prince Calaf gets the questions right. but Turandot is reluctant to marry him. He gives her a day in which to guess his name. or else he will sacrifice his life. Finally he seduces her and in a dramatic finale. the softened Turandot announces that his name is ‘love'.
Highlights: Calaf: Nessun Dorma — None shall sleep
Inten'al chat: Why not have a go at making up your own three riddles? The loser can buy the cornettos. or commit ritual suicide. whichever is most appropriate.
' [DADSA OPERA
According to Harry Enfleld there are three perfectly sound reasons why people don’t want to get Into opera: 1) It’s too expensive, 2) Who wants to listen to three hours of warbling in a foreign accent, and 3) You don’t want to be a ponce.
That said, Enfleld Is a self-confessed opera fanatic, with all the meal of the convert. His six-part Channel 4 series Harry Enfield’s Guide To Opera offers opera neophytes an easy entry to the world of fat tenors, hefty divas and regular cross-dressing. He himself started a love affair with the music after catching an aria from la Traviata. ‘I liked the single, sol bought the album. I liked that so I bought the whole opera. Liked that so I went to the concert. . .’
So getting Into opera is as easy as getting into Michael Jackson, except you don’t have to worry too much about the health of Figaro’s llama? Well, not exactly, as Harry’s assistant for the series Paul Daniel of Opera Horth points out. Despite the high profile of the likes of Pavarotti, Domingo, Darreras or Sutherland, the opera is the true star.
So, Harry concludes, hang the expense (you can get into Scottish Opera for the price of a curry anyway), open your ears to some of the most beautiful foreign warbles ever written, and so what if your mates think you’re a ponce?
Harry Enfield’s Guide To Dpera begins on Channel 4 on Thursday 4 March at 10.30pm. A book and [MI CD are
available to accompany the series.
AT MAYFEST THEY HAVE ELEVEN
N.V.A. (Formerly Test Department Productions) 0 PIGSBACK ' SERGEI BABAYAN ° SCOTTISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA I TRAMWAY / MAYFEST ° TRANSMISSION GALLERY - TRAVERSE THEATRE ° TRON THEATRE l DUNDEE REP I MAYFEST ° VICTORIA DE LOS ANGELES / NICOLAI GEDDA l GEOFFREY PARSONS °WOLFSTONE
'see leaﬂet for ticket information
The List '26— Fibruary—I l March 1993
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