Tuesday, August 19, 2003
Allow me to explain. Starting with "the opera." The opera is very modern. It makes Marc Adamo's Little Women pleasing and melodic (another editorial comment here -- I LOVE that opera, and think it is very pleasing, and melodic when it should be. My sister says it drives her crazy). This is so modern that there doesn't appear to be a melody present in the entire two hours. It abandons the plot entirely, focusing on the section from Jane's entrance and Thornfield, and ending, well, at the end -- with several major leaps...it relies heavily on the hope that someone out there has actually read the book. The libretto consists mainly of instrumental cacophany, Jane singing frantic atonal recitatives, and Mr. Rochester staggering across the stage doing glissandos to the tune of "Jane." Even the happy moments with Adelle are underscored with tension. In fact, really, the whole point of the show seems to be -- lets make this show darker and more mysterious. Question: If the subtext is on top, doesn't it negate the mystery?
So, on to Jane Eyre: the musical. I like this better of the two...at first. It at least opens up more of the plot, introducing Jane at Lowwood school, and all, and starting with an orphan scene that tries it's best not to be the all female cast of Oliver. Kudos to the composer for giving Helen Burns a song to herself. Jump ahead to Thornfield, and introducing Mrs. Potts as Mrs. Fairfax (even Andrea thought that this role was obviously written with Angela Lansbury in mind). When she started going on about tea, and how her head was all muddled it just SCREAMED beauty and the beast...but maybe only in my twisted little head.
I love the song given to Blanche Ingram. I intend to sing it once I buy the score. Written for a coloratura soprano. The lady in the recording wasn't bad. I think I could do it justice. The only think I didn't like was that after a while all the music started to sound the same. And it failed to move me in the opposite way of the opera. It was all light and playful, and only once even tried to switch to a minor key. So where the first one was all subtext on top, the second had no subtext at all. It's like if you had "Titanic: the opera -- which played everything off kilter for the whole show, making it slightly more sinister than nightmare before Christmas; and then Titanic the musical (I am aware that there is one which is NOT like the comparison I'm making) that played everything happy, even with a nice "it's a little nippy in here' chorus when they're all in the water. Combine the two and it would be just about right. But that's only my 6am opinion.