wed 22/11/2017

Thomas Adès, London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Thomas Adès, London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican Hall

Thomas Adès, London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican Hall

Gerald Barry's one-act opera, La plus forte, is one of the most significant for a decade

Barbara Hannigan (above left, Adès, right, conducting the US premiere in Miami, 2008) is 'mesmerising as the garrulous Madame X'
If the second half of the 20th century saw opera throttled by existential crises, and left composers wondering whether the only future for the art form was for it to be hung out to dry, or to become an arcane intellectualised annex for the musical games then in vogue, Gerald Barry's one-act opera, La plus forte (2006) - receiving its UK premiere in a concert performance last night - marks the end of hostilities. So effortlessly does Barry seem to rise above the tangled, stagnant realities of recent operatic and musical convention, and return and restore the art form to the business of psychological entrapment, that it's hard not to see his small, 20-minute work as one of the most significant operas of the past decade.
 

Comments

Sounds intriguing. Barry's The Intelligence Park baffled me, but The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant was one of the most compelling new operas I've seen, easily trumping the playsafe antics of Ades's The Tempest.

Totally agree about the Barry. A brilliant piece of work. The three Ades pieces were an interesting look into his development as a composer. Fabulous stuff. Not a bad review, just a shame the picture is not of last night's performance, and isn't even the LSO!

Very much agree with you, Alice. La Plus Forte is probably the most compelling opera I've seen since Bitter Tears. Very tricky to get a pic of last night's performance, Dan, but have hopefully made this one clearer.

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