Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Gordon Bintner leads (almost) all-male cast of "From the House of the Dead"

Gordon Bintner (left and right), Gal Fefferman and Brandon Cedel (Photo: Barbara Aumüller)
Oper Frankfurt is presenting Leoš Janáček's From the House of the Dead from April 1-29 with a cast led by Canadian barihunk Gordon Bintner and an array of barihunks familiar to readers of this site, including Barnaby Rea, Mikołaj Trąbka and Brandon Cedel. Bintner portrays the main character, Alexandr Petrovič Gorjančikov, a well-born political prisoner who is dismayed by his new surroundings in a Siberian prison camp.

Leoš Janáček completed his revolutionary opera From the House of the Dead in May 1928, which became his final and, arguably, most powerful work. 
The work was first performed posthumously in 1930 and is based on Dostoyevsky’s semi-autobiographical novel describing life in a Siberian gulag. Janáček does not soften that harsh reality at the heart of his tale, but imbues the work with compassion in its honest depiction of humanity’s difficult truths. 

Barnaby  Rea, Mikołaj Trąbka and Brandon Cedel
He used a radically new music language to convey the epic demands of the work. The astonishing score includes eruptive elements, piercing dissonances, laconic, short motifs, rhythmical ostinati and language as "instant photography of the soul," as the composer called it. He also uses folk music, which often embued his works, to show how the prisoners create a sense of community even in bleak surroundings.

The brief appearance of a prostitute is the only female figure in a world of men whose movement is governed by constant monotonous repetition and whose symbolic expression is found in a wounded eagle. 

The piece was initially deemed by some to be too pessimistic, but the opera eerily foresaw the totalitarian era that was on the horizon and has new-found resonance in today's geo-politcal world.

Tickets and additional cast information is available online

No comments:

Post a Comment