In November 1938 a young Polish Jew, Herschel Grynsban, driven to desperation and despair by the Nazi persecution of his mother, shot a minor German diplomat in Paris. The Nazis retaliated with one of the most savage, vicious pogroms experienced up to that time. A Child of our Time, composed during 1938-41, was Michael Tippett’s musical response to this contemporary tragedy and his attempt to comprehend its universal and eternal relevance.
Santa Fe, NM : It is not unusual for Santa Fe Opera to produce little known or
rarely heard operas in their enduring devotion to both unusual and ‘lost’ repertory, as well as commissioned and contemporary works. But is it unusual – very – for two such mountings in one season to be smash hits. Santa Fe lately enjoyed two such successes, graced by elevated musical and performance quality, and strong audience acceptance.
The gifted Polish composer Karol Szymanowski wrote his three-act King Roger, in the 1920’s. It is an allegorical tale of honor vs. pleasure set to quite beautiful music, especially in the orchestral writing, which Santa Fe chose to play in the same season as the Rossini in a wide tip of the hat to unknown but worthy repertory.
This was unquestionably the best all-round performance I have yet seen from Opera Holland Park, staging and musical performances alike often putting august metropolitan houses from around the world to shame.