John Deaderick: Party without end | TheUnion.com

John Deaderick: Party without end

John Deaderick
Special to Prospector

This Saturday at Grass Valley's Del Oro Theatre Sierra Theaters presents Thomas Adès' "The Exterminating Angel" as the latest offering of The Met Opera Live in HD.

An opera based on a film, now that is a rarity. But English composer Thomas Adès built his meteoric rise to the top of the music scene by creating the unexpected.

"The Exterminating Angel," his third opera, follows his extraordinary adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and the salacious, fact-based "Powder Her Face," which dealt with the scandalous sexual exploits of the Duchess of Argyll in the early 1960s.

His other works include "Asyla and America: A Prophecy for large orchestra, the violin concerto Concentric Paths," and an adaptation of a song by British ska band Madness, "Cardiac Arrest."

Luis Buñuel's 1962 surrealist masterpiece concerns a post-opera dinner party the guests don't seem to be able to leave. Considered a send up of Bourgeois pseudo-respectability, the film is absurd and darkly comic as it descends into mayhem and violence.

Certainly a metaphor for class struggle and political instability, Buñuel's film seems both unlikely and perfectly suited for adaptation to such a larger than life medium as opera.

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This production, the American premier, is sure to raise a few eyebrows, not only for the avant garde subject matter, but the unusual orchestration.

Included are xylophone, gongs, steel drum, anvil, washboard, spring coils, saucepans, a slammed door, and a drumhead-and-horsehair contraption called, for obvious reasons, a "lion's roar."

Additionally, there is one of the earliest of electronic instruments, the ondes Martenot. Created in 1928, the sound it emits is otherworldly, and I this work adds to the atmosphere of unreality.

As well, it has been noted that the soprano hits the A above high C, which archivists claim has never been done before on the Met stage.

Unique, compelling, horizon-expanding, The Exterminating Angel is sure to spark conversation and offer dramatic delights. I'll be there, hope you'll join me!

John Deaderick is a local theatre artist and the author of Make Sweet the Minds of Men: Early Opera and Tragic Catharsis, available at Amazon.com.

KNOW & GO

WHO: The Del Oro Theatre

WHAT: The Metropolitan Opera, LIVE in HD

WHEN: 9:55 a.m. Saturday

WHERE: The Del Oro Theatre, 165 Mill Street, Grass Valley

TICKETS: $22 Adults, $20 Seniors, $18 Children 12 and under & students with ID; Available online at http://www.sierratheaters.com or at the Del Oro Box Office

INFO: http://www.sierratheaters.com, 530-477-1100