5 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2016
  2. Mar 2016
    1. an opera of mine quite dear to my heart

      A lot of talk about this opera has been about its apparent homo-erotic subtext, and Zachary Woolfe spelled out a bit of itin a 2012 article for the NY Times. A considerable amount of scholarship has constructed the suspicion that Britten, Forster, and Crozier's adaption hinges on a suppressed love between Claggart and Budd.

      Woolfe notes,

      "Forster wrote that Claggart's aria at the end of Act I, which consciously echoes Iago's "Credo" in Verdi's "Otello," represents "love constricted, perverted, poisoned, but never the less flowing down its agonizing channel; a sexual discharge gone evil."

      This leaning by Britten and co, interestingly predates Eve Sedgwick's analysis of homosociality, which makes explicit comment about the fraught relationship between Billy, Vere, and Claggart that is explored in the opera through dramatic and musical means.

    2. E.M. Forster and Eric Crozier

      Theater scholar Minou Arjomand makes an interesting note about the relationships between Britten and the two. After a 1964 revival of the work at the original location, E.M. Forster wrote back to the reviewer at The Times after the article written had entirely excluded mention of him or Crozier. Unfortunately, often it so goes that collaborators get moved into the shadows alongside the Big Name. While my quick look around suggests that the Crozier has been excavated since the performances mentioned (if only by the glaring abundance of scholarly work on this particular opera, holy shit, Arjomand's scholarship reminds us of the mutability of Text and what a peculiar thing a musical adaptation of literature can be.

    3. the performance

      I mean, it's an opera. And opera certainly isn't casual listening (not for me, anyway). But there are some nice parts, so perhaps they're worth spotlighting--

    4. Peter Pears

      Biographer Paul Kildea has put forward the hypothesis that Pears, who was intimate to Britten (both musically and otherwise), may have given Britten syphilis, the complications of which had ended his life just three years prior. If so, the resonance of this being his last performance stands a moving tribute.