A grim subject, a modern opera, a small stage at CCM – doesn’t sound like a pleasant evening. And yet it was mesmerizing music, libretto, singing, acting. Mary and I, with our usual excellent luck, found ourselves at the College Conservatory of Music a bit early – and were immediately invited in to hear a discussion about the opera by a British expert on Benjamin Britten, the composer. A great start, giving us the context for both Britten’s music and this piece.
It is one of those works whose ending I always want to re-write – like Romeo and Juliet. Lucretia, faithful, loyal and beautiful, is raped by a general, Tarquinius, whose family is ruling Rome. Her husband, Collatinus, is very supportive and loving. And yet she is the one who dies. Both the rape and her death scene are shocking. Nonetheless, her death causes the downfall of the tyrant and foreigner Tarquinius and his family and sets Rome on a different course.
The menace, the music, the unusual accountants-as-Greek-chorus singing, the performances and vocal abilities of the principal performers. What an evening of fabulous music. Thanks, CCM.