Wagner's twins have sex and conceive a child. Verdi has murders, rapes and riots. Mozart and da Ponte wrote of the droit de seigneur, where the master gets the bride before the groom. Opera has never been about stuffy people-the stigma of the plaything of the rich-stuffy with money-mystifies.
You'll be hearing more about composer Thomas Ades. His opera The Tempest is coming to the Met in a few months, and you'll see it in HD. It is a magnificent opera! Don't miss it!
|Margaret Duchess of Argyll, a lady of many talents|
Powder Her Face is an earlier work by Mr. Ades. It concerts a ravishing red head of the 1950 and 60s called Margaret Sweeney. Cole Porter celebrated "Mrs. Sweeney" in song. Margaret was gorgeous, she liked a good time, and she got around. In 1951 she marred Ian Campbell the duke of Argyll. When, a number of years later it became clear that Margaret's active social life had not diminished with marriage, the Duke sued for divorce. A scandal it was. Polaroids of Her Grace, naked but for a strand of pearls, on her knees pleasuring a member of parliament did not amuse hubby but had the Empire roaring. That was the least of it. Testimony revealed that Meg's conquests neared 100 during her marriage. The judge called her a whore from the bench, the divorce was granted and Margaret was free and broke.
Powder Her Face takes us to the Duchess-as she continued to style herself-about to be evicted from her suite at the Savoy. Flashbacks add to the story. Few need further imagination:
(What's left of) The New York City Opera produces Powder Her Face later this year. A good time for all may be guaranteed.
|Famous for the right reasons|
This opera will not provide the nasty laughs accorded to the former Mrs. Sweeney. Marilyn Monroe I always drought was waaaaay over -exposed after her death. Then I viewed a few of her films and realized why. The camera loved her and she it, having nothing to do with any sexual act or (sometimes) suggestions thereof. Some got it and some ain't and Norma Jean had it and how. I do wish she could rest in peace, but here she is in the opera house. Can another mini-series be far off?
So the next time some worthy tells you opera is dull and for the rich you can say opera is sometimes about the rich, but hell look at those boobs on Anna Nicole. Look at Mrs. Sweeney 's myriad talents and the pathos of Marilyn. Who's bored?