A few years ago, I was introduced to Dmitri Shostakovich's work when I saw a brilliant dance piece called The Overcoat set to his music and based on a story by Gogol. It was a powerful and gripping production and is back this season at CanStage. Go.
The demanding score of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtensk, currently on offer at Canadian Opera Company surprised me with its frustration and tension, but also with moments of levity that temporarily allowed the veil of strain and ennui to lift. Mistress La Spliffe wonderfully described the faint breath of polka rhythm present in Shostakovich's work on her site that had me laughing and agreeing.
The most sensual and effective imagery of the night was found not in one of the visceral sex scenes, but following the murder of Katerina's husband. The move of the guilty lovers toward embrace bathed in blood and light as the curtain falls was exquisite.
As arresting as some moments were, there was never enough to take me where I needed to go with this opera and it no doubt was too modern for my taste.
I don't shy away from the violence music is capable of but perhaps next time, a little more foreplay before all the strident overtures you cheeky monkey.