Greek Tidbits and Inside Info

By | 2016-11-20T12:47:23+00:00 November 19th, 2016|

After Mark-Anthony Turnage studied at Tanglewood Music Center with Hans Werner Henze in 1983, Henze arranged a commission from him for the Munich Biennale, and thus Greek premiered in 1988. The “then unknown, twenty-five-year-old English composer” had “never written a piece longer than fifteen minutes,” but...

Mark Anthony Turnage Interview

By | 2016-11-16T09:49:17+00:00 November 15th, 2016|

The world premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage’s first opera, Greek, took place on June 17, 1988 in Munich, Germany. The British composer had just turned 28, and his violent, visceral, in-your-face adaptation of the Oedipus myth propelled him into the forefront of composers of his generation. The press dubbed him “the angry young man of music,” a role he admits he delighted in playing for a number of years, and still enjoys from time to time. Now, 28 years later, he has mellowed a little without losing his edge and his capacity to create surprise – both in music and in conversation...

The Turmoil of Thatcher’s London

By | 2016-11-16T01:22:13+00:00 November 14th, 2016|

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

By | 2016-11-05T07:08:18+00:00 November 4th, 2016|

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 NOTES: And so it begins…

By | 2016-11-05T07:08:19+00:00 October 27th, 2016|

BLO is moving into high gear with its upcoming production of the vivid, disturbing and highly theatrical opera Greek, by Mark-Anthony Turnage. Rehearsal have just started, sets are being built, costumes fitted…all in preparation for a November 16th opening.

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

By | 2016-11-05T07:08:19+00:00 October 21st, 2016|

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 HERO: Complexes and All

By | 2016-11-05T07:08:19+00:00 October 13th, 2016|

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?

HIGH NOTES: Portrait of a Sphinx

By | 2016-11-05T07:08:19+00:00 October 6th, 2016|

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.