WSJ Reviews Le Grande Macabre and The Flying Dutchman at the SFO

Waiting for the End of the World
November 17, 2004
San Francisco
Many listeners know Gyorgy Ligeti from the creepily futuristic orchestral music in the soundtrack of the 1968 movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” His opera “Le Grand Macabre” (1978, revised in 1996), given its American premiere this month by the San Francisco Opera, is a thoroughly different creature, yet it is just as much an artifact of its time. Though carefully crafted and full of compositional references, the score is mostly an elbow-in-the-ribs accompaniment to a nihilistic black comedy. Beginning with an opening fanfare for car horns that sounds like Harpo Marx multiplied and continuing with a parody of the “Dies Irae,” the prophecy of the Day of Judgment, the opera is a soulless and often scatological joke.
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Cast information (Le Grande Macabre):
Piet The Pot — Graham Clark
Amando — Sara Fulgoni
Amanda — Anne-Sophie Duprels
Nekrotzar — Willard White
Astradamors — Clive Bayley
Mescalina — Susanne Resmark
Venus/Gepopo — Caroline Stein
Prince Go-Go — Gerald Thompson
White Politician — John Duykers
Black Politician — Joshua Bloom
Additional information on Le Grande Macabre *here*.
Cast information (The Flying Dutchman):
The Dutchman — Juha Uusitalo
Senta — Nina Stemme
Erik — Christopher Ventris
Daland — Walter Fink
Additional information on The Flying Dutchman *here*.