A Scintillating Evening
Szymanowski's 'King Roger'
at Covent Garden
impresses RODERIC DUNNETT
From time to time the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden risks embarking on rare early twentieth century repertoire that makes a forceful impact by its very unfamiliarity. Paul Hindemith's Mathis der Maler (evoking the history of garish, disturbing religious painter Matthias Grünewald) was a prime example; Hans Pfitzner's Palestrina (exploring the renaissance composer's precarious relation to the papacy) was another.
Both operas are to a degree biographical, with the composer seeking to make a vital statement of principle in exploring the life, work and moral stance of figures who were in their day, and remain, artists of the first order, but also subject to the uneasy political order.
Each proved, in its way — like Martinů's The Greek Passion subsequently — a masterpiece...
Copyright © 1 June 2015