An Opera Where Debauchery Reigns at World’s End

By George Loomis [NY Times, 8 April 2009]

BRUSSELS — Gyorgy Ligeti’s “Le Grand Macabre” is a modern opera with a theatrical zest as fresh as its music, which is one reason for the staying power it has shown since its 1978 premiere in Stockholm. This is no ordinary representational opera, with new music grafted on to a conventional novel or play, but an episodic, quirky, strikingly black comedy that appears to be headed toward the destruction of the world. Just what is at stake? Well, not so much, really — an ill-assorted cluster of characters whose preoccupations largely involve indulgences of the body, in particular, sex and drink.