Handmaid Horror

Attending any opera can be an exhilirating experience. Your spirit can soar or your wings can be clipped causing you only to wish you were flying too close to the sun. The Canadian Opera Company in Toronto recently presented an adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale to good reviews. Hmph.

What can I say about The Handmaid's Tale? Dinner was really really good! Oh yeah, that happened before the opera. At Biff's. Yum.

I had previously thought Margaret Atwood's novel of a not too far off totalitarian world where reproduction is monitored by the govermnent great, the film terrible and now I can add that the opera was a live horrorshow.

Whenever you hear the word dissonance in relation to a score, immediately substitute it with noise you do not want to have pay to hear. To me it sounded like the usual instruments had been wrested from the hands of the musicians and replaced with garbage can lids and firecrackers. It could just be that some trickster had placed all the sheet music upside down on their stands. You get the picture.

I very much enjoy boundary blurring in other art forms such as film and music but when it comes to opera I guess I enjoy the traditional. I don't want video screen projections, I want the drama to come from the voice, the setting and the lighting, not from shrill distractions. Without seeing the modern however, I have no benchmark to evaluate the beauty.

There wasn't enough beauty to keep me there past Act One. In fact I noticed several other people's ears bleeding at intermission as they climbed into the waiting ambulances, I mean taxis.

Positive notes on the production: The colors were pretty. The choreography was interesting. The Handmaids look less goofy than you'd expect in their winged caps. Next up is Lucia di Lammermoor which got middling to bad reviews depending on what you read. Can't wait!

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