Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Roa..art's not what it used to be

In amongst the post-holiday exhaustion, we managed to pack a few things in last week.  No doubt it was that which gave me a nasty bout of man flu from Friday through to today.

Friday we went to the opera to see a production written by Neil Hannon...better known the Divine Comedy.  As The Divine Comedy he is divine.  He may be a divine opera writer, but apart from the scene about Natasha, I suspect not. As The Guardian says

"Since 2010, the ROH2's OperaShots initiative has offered a range of composers working outside the operatic medium a chance to try their hand at the genre. It's a worthy idea, but it's fair to say that thus far the results have been disappointing; too many of those commissioned have turned out to lack a sufficiently strong set of technical skills to create something viable.
  1. OperaShots
  2. Linbury Studio, 
  3. London
  1. Until Until 28 April
  2. Box office: 
    020-7304 4000
  3. Details
This problem recurs in this year's double bill with Neil Hannon's Sevastopol, written to his own libretto and based on Tolstoy's experiences in the Crimean war, as recounted in his Sevastopol Sketches. Hannon tells his episodic tale with spoken introductions leading into individual sections that don't cohere. The word-setting is awkward, the harmony and instrumentation drab and the ideas frequently kitsch; one or two moments suggest an audition piece for a West End musical, but without the necessary theatrical vitality.
John Lloyd Davies's staging cannot disguise the piece's static nature, though the cast give it a good shot, with Richard Burkhard's Tolstoy holding the centre ground."

At the other end of the artistic scale we went to see the new exhibition of Roa's works.  I'm an absolute groupie when it comes to Roa, so had gone to some lengths to get to the preview.  Contrary to most people's expectations, these street artists are not daft...they're confidently commercial, so no wonder we walked away with a  limited edition book that cost several times the price of the next most expensive book I've ever bought.  The show was in two places...and it was just absolutely magical to see his talent.  One of the great things about street artists is that they don't mind you photographing their work...in fact it's positively encouraged.