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Location: New York, New York, United States

Saturday, July 15, 2006


This is a new opera by Elliot Goldenthal, staged by his life partner Julie Taymor, based on John Gardner's novel, which reimagined Beowulf from the monster's point of view. I enjoyed some aspects of it very much, but found it a mixed bag overall. The first half-hour in particular was too monochromatic both musically and visually for my taste. The arrival of a blind-bard character called The Shaper livened things up considerably...as did a mezzo-soprano Dragon, the highlight of the evening. (She had a tail impersonated delightfully by three 'back-up singer' sopranos.)

This must be the first opera I've ever seen in which the poetry of the libretto was so good that it outshone the music. Nonetheless I found the metaphysical musings unconvincing and uninvolving. Eric Owens is good in the very demanding title role. Taymor's visual and dramatic flourishes are not as wonderful here as in the Met's Magic Flute, but there are thrilling and beautiful moments.


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