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A scene from the Hungarian première of Maxwell Davies' opera 'Resurrection'. Photo © 2001 Andrea Felvégi

Kovalik is no stranger to dark psychological underworlds. He was responsible for the Hungarian State Opera's probing new production of Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, virtually breathes Kafka, and would be a natural for directing a full thirteen-hour opera based on Döblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz. He has a knack of getting to the jugular of an operatic text (witness his recent, spare and -- for Hungary -- cutting edge Peter Grimes). Davies's score is littered with allusion -- most notably, to the biblical Book of Revelation, which is reevoked in a series of parody-tableaux (each involving a form of televised 'advert') which (if followed to the letter) would make Grünewald look as tame as Raphael.

A scene from the Hungarian première of Maxwell Davies' opera 'Resurrection'. Photo © 2001 Andrea Felvégi

As good a find as Kovalik himself is the conductor, Gergely Kesselyák, who geared up his players (not least some amazing brass) to produce a remarkably lucid delivery of a complex score. True, the instrumental clarity of Davies' own Manchester recording was not all there; but much of it was, and Kesselyák's attunement to what was occurring on stage, meticulous leads and shrewd dovetailing of scenes revealed strikingly good judgment at almost every turn. The music and voice coaches, Márton Rácz and Irina Bakos, had much to be pleased with : performed on a budget rehearsal scheme, there were no nerves, no hesitations, no awkward gaps. Indeed Maxwell Davies' often angular vocal lines seemed to pose no terrors for any of the singers at all.

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Copyright © 20 January 2002 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK

 

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A REVIEW OF 'MR EMMET TAKES A WALK'

A REVIEW OF 'THE TURN OF THE TIDE'

THE MAXWELL DAVIES WEBSITE

 

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