Monday, April 07, 2008

Feeling Check: Today, wanting to be in London

I stumbled across this review of an opera version of David Lynch's 1997 film Lost Highway today, which is currently being performed at the Young Vic theatre in London. FYI, Lynch's dream logic horror noir is, as of last week, finally out on DVD. I found this to be one of the director's most inaccessible films to date, and here I'm taking Inland Empire and Eraserhead into consideration. Don't expect Lynch to give any special insight through commentary in the bonus features, though--he doesn't do that because he knows it will piss you off.

The opera version, re-worked by Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth, began its tour in 2003, and is now making a more high-profile comeback. Today I am feeling that I seriously need to be in London watching this opera--like right now.

But since I'm stuck in an office in San Francisco, I shall try to savor this review and accompanying pictures. And some behind-the-scenes videos. Here are some highlights:

...Neuwirth's text sticks closely to the original screenplay, making just a couple of significant alterations, and delivers most of it as speech: there is no singing at all in the first third of the 90-minute piece. The baffling tale, involving what is known psychologically as psychogenic or dissociative fugue, unfolds as a sequence of disconnected scenes. Jazz musician Fred Madison is sentenced to death for the murder of his wife, and while on death row he is transformed into garage mechanic Pete Dayton, who has his own problems with the underworld. Whether the two men are one and the same, or just unwittingly connected, is never made clear.

The score involves live digital transformations for the ensemble and voices; the resulting sounds are projected around the auditorium. It includes quotations--from Kurt Weill and a Monteverdi madrigal--but otherwise the fine detail gets homogenised by the electronics, an aural emulsion that is generally just a a neutral background to speech and song.


Sean Wraight said...

Hello Amity,

Have a look at this link.

The short videos are quite outstanding. Let's hope this one makes its way to this side of the pond soon.


amityb said...

OMG thank you. Blog updated, with links to these videos.

Yeah you never know, I thought the ballet version of Edward Scissorhands would be too obscure to make a crossover, but it hit San Francisco from London in no time flat so, you never do know.