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Prisoner of Mab

RODERIC DUNNETT reports from Austria
on a new chamber opera by Eduard Demetz


Häftling von Mab ('Prisoner of Mab') is the title of a new chamber opera by south Austrian composer Eduard Demetz, staged in the Landestheater at Innsbruck, the Tirolean fastness where Emperor Maximilian based his expanding central European power.

Eduard Demetz

Taking its name from act one scene four of Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, where Mercutio bursts forth into his vision of a fairy queen in her waggon made of 'wings of grasshoppers, moonshine's watery beams and cricket's bone', Häftling von Mab focuses on the vexed, and apparently guilty, memories and imaginings of Richard, a dreamer who is described, aptly -- for Queen Mab's chariot is the bringer of dreams -- as 'Mab's prisoner'. His family have been murdered, apparently by him; his life is a series of physical, and emotional, wanderings. But whether it is his family's lives which are re-enacted, or some strange buried childhood memories of his own, or a fusion, is all tantalisingly unclear.

Dale Albright as Richard in the Tiroler Landes Theater 2002 production of Häftling von Mab. Photo: Rupert Larl


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Copyright © 14 April 2002 Roderic Dunnett, Athens, Greece





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