A Japanese living in London writes anything about everyday life in UK – cafe, restaurant, design, stores, politics, news, events, art/museums, films, food, fashion, travel etc. イギリス暮らしもかれこれ10年。カフェ、レストラン、デザイン、お店、政治、ニュース、イベント、アート／美術館、映画、食、ファッション、旅行等々、ロンドンでの日常生活や、英国に関する情報を思いつくままに綴ります。
“The Passion of Joan of Arc ” is a story of Joan of Arc, a national heroine of France and a Catholic saint, who heard the voice of Saint Michael and liberated France from English occupation during the Hundred Years’ War. It summarises the time from the Rehabilitation trial after being captivated by English and Burgundian to imprisonment, torture, and the execution by burning.
A libretto in Latin and antique French from the writings of Joan of Arc, medieval mystics and the Bible, was sang beautifully by soloists and chorus. This minimalistic and solemn score, together with the black and white classic silent masterpiece, was deeply moving and vividly conveyed the fear and emotional suffering of young Joan, who once was a savior of France but whose life was tragically terminated with only an age of 19 by one of the most agonising way.
You can also see this film together with the music on YouTube (link), so check it out if you are interested.
English National Opera（イングリッシュ・ナショナル・オペラ／ENO）で、ヘンデルのメサイア（Messiah）を観た。イエス・キリストの生涯を描いたオラトリオの名作・メサイアは、もともとオペラの楽曲ではないのだが、気鋭の演出家・Deborah Warner（デボラ・ワーナー）によって、現代社会を舞台に、ダンスを取り入れたユニークなオペラ作品に仕上がった。衣装も小物も現代風、時折舞台後方のスクリーンに宗教画が映されたり、キリスト教の儀式に使われる小道具が劇中に出てくる程度で、キリストの物語にも関わらず宗教色は強くない。ティーンエイジャーの妊娠はマリアの処女懐胎、天使が羊飼いにキリスト降誕を告げる場面は、お遊戯会で子供たちがその場面を演じる形に、キリストの磔刑シーンは、若者の喧嘩に変えるなど、原作と繋がりを持たせようとしているが、ちょっと無理があるかも。キリスト教の学校に行っていたので、ある程度の知識はあるのだが、舞台上で起こってることと音楽とどう繋がりがあるのか分からず、後でタイムズ紙のレビューを読んで、ああそういうことだったのかと得心した。
We saw Handel‘s Messiah at the English National Opera (ENO). Messiah was not written for opera, but the director Deborah Warner transforms this oratorio masterpiece into an unique opera work, setting in modern urban life and taking in dance elements. The opera seems to reduce religion to a minimum – costumes and stage sets are modern, except the religious arts occasionally projected on screens and some ceremonial objects used in some scenes. The director tries to make a connection between the original story and this opera, but the attempt unfortunately doesn’t not really work well and quite cheesy: the Virgin Birth becomes teenage pregnancy, the meeting of shepherds and angels is turned into a school nativity play, and Christ’s scourging and Crucifixion translate into a fight among youths. I went to a Protestant school and know a bit about the life of Jesus Christ, but I barely understood the relationship between the music and what was going on on the stage. I figured out the meaning of some scenes after I came back home and read the review by the Times.
The biggest problem for me was the kids in the opera – I know it is not their fault but it was just annoying. A 6 year-old boy was almost always on the stage, walking around, running or sitting down, and it was very distracting. The scene of school play was really irritating as well, except a song by a boy with beautiful clear voice: the kids jumped up and down and the parents took a pictures or filmed with camcorders. It is reported that the opera uses 44 extras other than singers, including dancers. Some people just stand up or lie down – is it really necessary to put useless people on the stage??
However I I like Handel and Baroque music and enjoyed the music a lot: the Handel specialist conductor Laurence Cummings led the orchestra beautifully and voices of the two female soprano and alto singers were truly graceful. The modern and simple stage sets designed by Tom Pye were interesting, such as video footage of modern society (people going up and down on an elevator, or silhouettes of moving cranes) and transparent coffins placed all over the stage at the final part. We got a ticket, original price of £71 for only £10 with Evening Standardpromotion – so it was really worth going. But I would be upset if I paid £71 for the opera…
We went to a concert “Handel Remixed / David Daniels” at Barbican Hall on September 19. My knowledge in classical music is at high school music class level, but we decided to go to this concert because 1) we like baroque among other classical music, 2) it was the concert of the singer David Daniels who performed in the opera ‘Theodra‘ that M likes, 3) this was a unique concert that classical music met contemporary music, and 4) Barbican is only 10 minutes away by bicycle.
The concert was planned to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Handel‘s death by commissioning five composers, Michael Nyman, Nico Muhly, John Tavener, Craig Armstrong and Jocelyn Pook, to write works based upon Handel’s music. These new songs were played in between Handel’s original arias and oratorios, therefore, it was called ‘Handel Remixed’. Countertenor David Daniels and Academy of St Martin in the Fields performed in the concert.Daniels’ sensitive and pure voice was beautiful, and was very relaxing as well. Some songs by the five composers sounded more like movie soundtracks than Handel, and some hardcore Handel fans and the Telegraph and the Guardian critique didn’t seem to be impressed by the concert, but the concert was fantastic for us as a classic music novice and we like the concept of classic music with modern touch. Especially “ombra mai fu” (original version) for the encore was so beautiful and moving.