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

This performance had some very good singers indeed. Take Péter Bárány, the countertenor who sings 'Mam' (Christopher Robson on the Davies recording), the dreadful mother of the (silent throughout) hero or 'dummy' (enacted here by Péter Takátsy with a floppy precision worthy of a Marcel Marceau protégé). This is exactly the world of Mark-Antony Turnage's 'Greek' (though there it is the father, the bass, who is especially dreadful). With his Nefertiti-like shuffle, incessant fussing and screeching remonstrances, Bárány produced the epitome of awfulness, matched at least in part by Máté Sólyom-Nagy's infuriating little brother and Anna Molnár's atrocious elder sister -- albeit looking more like an aunt : Molnár produced perhaps the best singing and performing of the evening; her appearance (in altered role) as Antichrist, revolving on designer Péter Horgas's superbly conceived multi-purpose daïs (-cum-rack-cum-ladder-cum-theocratic plinth : Music Theatre Wales would be envious), felt not so much like a new character : one almost felt the dreadful sister had herself resurrected, and found her true métier.

László Kéringer (Dad), Máté Sólyom-Nagy (brother), Anna Molnár (sister), Péter Takátsy (Dummy/Victim) and Péter Bárány (Mam) in Maxwell Davies' 'Resurrection'. Photo © 2001 Andrea Felvégi

In the opera, the central 'victim' is first assaulted (almost physically, certainly neurally) by his family environ (Kovalik's simple staging of the opening, with the cast arrayed in front of the television like some ghastly TV Royle Family, merged with the look of The Simpsons -- a device he has explored before in his work at Szeged Opera, worked a treat) and by society at large (the law, church, medicine, judiciary); then 'sectioned', as it were, for his antisocial traits (is the real offence his sexuality?), and dissected and gutted (multicolour bloody streamers trailed from, and controlling, a wheel of fortune) by four particularly sinister (and ominously) singing Surgeons -- the same characters, recycled in new roles : Róbert Urbán-Nagy (also the Headmaster), László Kéringer (Dad), Máté Sólyom-Nagy (Brother) and Tamás Bátor (Doctor).

Péter Takátsy (Dummy) and Péter Novák (Cat) in Balázs Kovalik's Budapest production of 'Resurrection'. Photo © 2001 Andrea Felvégi

Amidst these goings on, the series of 'apocalyptic' advertisements is played out (Davies later recycled the 'advertisement' idea in two of his Children's Operas and sundry other pieces) onstage -- the proscenium becoming, in effect, the giant screen -- by a gaggle of sinuous, mainly red-clad, luridly lit dancers and a less-than-pleasant Cat (a fairly capable Pop singer, Péter Novák. Cats, it should be recalled, feature prominently in another Davies operatic work, Cinderella).

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Copyright © 20 January 2002 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK







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