Sunday, July 29, 2007


Last Thursday Anne dragged me along to the main and very fine auditorium of the Brisbane Conservatorium for a performance of Humperdinck's "Jackie and Maggie" -- or Hansl und Gretl" as it was originally known. Why the name is never translated into English I will never know.

My taste in opera stops at Mozart but Anne is much more keen. Anyway, it was a reasonable performance. Though the fact that I have known the story since about age 3 deprived it of any drama. But who goes to opera for the unexpected these days?

There were only two sets in the production and the second set was regrettably "postmodern" -- with scrappy and irrelevant bits all over the place.

The audience was unmistakeably bourgeois -- no black faces but quite a sprinking of Asians. Asians fit in well with Western civilization -- unlike Africans and Muslims. And the age range was mostly 40+

The music was very successfully programmatic -- which is what one wants for opera. The dialogue was sung in English -- but with my being a bit deaf it might as well have been in Urdu. So the supertext was a lifesaver for comprehension -- though (as is often the case with opera) I don't think that the libretto added much. The music was the thing. And there are certainly some good bits in Humperdinck's score.

The baritone did an excellent job and I was rather pleased to see that the original devout Christian element in the libretto was retained -- not at all to be relied on in this day and age.

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