Few concepts from modern psychology have entered the cultural and popular imagination to the extent of Sigmund Freud’s Oedipus Complex. At once a source of revulsion and titillation, the theory that young boys desire their mothers and hate their fathers is named for the ancient myth of Oedipus, who unwittingly fulfills an oracle’s prophecy that he will marry his mother and kill his father and, when he learns the truth, puts out his own eyes in despair. Yet the opera Greek, based on the play of the same name by Steven Berkoff, finds the courage—and the audacity—to turn the legend on its head: the modern-day Oedipus (Eddy) defiantly lives his passion rather than retreating in shame. Is it wrong? Or…could Eddy actually be right?
This Sunday, October 9, the BLO and the MFA will present a program at the museum titled Oedipus and the Sphinx in Art and Music. During the afternoon, you will encounter the mythical Sphinx and her dramatic encounter with Oedipus in various guises, including an elegant and witty scene from the Cocteau play, The Infernal Machine, and two excerpts from opera—a dramatically tense scene from Oedipe by Enesco and a visceral, raw one from Greek by Turnage, a version which sets the story in the tough and brutal world of London's East End in the 1980s.