HIGH NOTES: Dryden, Furies, Oedipus—and the power of music


John Dryden’s reworking of Sophocles, entitled Oedipus, was one of the most performed plays of English Restoration drama, full of relish in the descriptions of the story’s more violent and bloodthirsty elements that appealed mightily to the public...

The Turmoil of Thatcher’s London


Greek, Mark-Anthony Turnage’s 1988 operatic setting of the Oedipus story, is set in the gritty, seething political turmoil of 1980s London: the era of Thatcherism, of extreme political and social changes, and of artistic and cultural revolt. The prosperity and triumph of capitalism that marked Margaret Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister from 1979-1990 were not without cost or controversy—especially in the arts.

HIGH NOTES: More trips down Oedipus lane


Night Journey is a 1947 Martha Graham ballet performed to a harsh, dramatic score by William Schuman, with costumes by Graham and sets by her longtime collaborator, the sculptor Isamu Noguchi. She noted that “the action takes place in Jocasta’s heart at the instant when she recognizes the ultimate terms of her destiny.” Commissioned by the philanthropist Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, Night Journey had its premiere (oddly) at Cambridge High School outside Boston.

HIGH FIVE: Get to Know Greek in 5 Minutes or Less


Greek is not only a reworking of the famed Greek tragedy, but also an adaptation of a 1979 play by Steven Berkoff. By setting Sophocles’ work in contemporary London, Berkoff offered a pointed commentary on the state of Britain in the late 1970s. For his part, Turnage has stated that his political sensibilities, which paralleled Berkoff’s, informed his interest in adapting this work for the operatic stage.

The 40 Seasons of Boston Lyric Opera: A History Part VI


At the end of Part V, Esther Nelson had assembled her leadership team, committed the Company to bold and thoughtful artistic choices, and reinstated a fourth production through the launch of Opera Annex, which quickly became a highly anticipated annual presentation in a nontraditional or found space.

The 40 Seasons of Boston Lyric Opera: A History Part V


Each week during 40 Days of Opera, check back on the BLO blog for a new installment of this in-depth history of BLO!

At the end of Part IV, BLO was facing major, existential questions at the end of Janice Mancini Del Sesto’s term of leadership. What sort of vision would the next General Director bring to Boston Lyric Opera? What sort of institution would BLO be after the new leadership team was in place?