ELENA LANGER composer
I thought Simon Rattle’s ‘Haydn: An Imaginary Orchestral Journey’ with the LSO might just be a pot pourri, but it was fantastic. Rattle had selected innovative and interesting excerpts from Haydn’s symphonies, The Creation, The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross and other works. He also included some of the musical clock tunes that Haydn composed when he was at the Esterházy court, which were played before going to bed to create a sunset atmosphere. Haydn needs a renaissance, and Rattle is the person to do that.
I’m growing to love Handel more. I think after you hear a three-hour Handel opera, you might be a better person. I saw a production of Ariodante on Youtube, conducted by Harry Bicket, and with wonderful singers – Vesselina Kasarova, Sara Mingardo and others. But what blew me away was the staging: the singers were made to look like puppets. You saw the torso of the singer and then there was a little seat attached with puppet legs.
I’m writing a cabaret/vaudeville/music hall show for Welsh National Opera at the moment, called Rhonda Rips It Up, so I’ve been paying attention to operetta,
Gilbert and Sullivan and more popular music. I was invited to an open dress rehearsal of The Mikado put on by Charles Court Opera. The production was by singer-director John Savournin. It was done with such wit and imagination, with very good performers.
Q Kurt Weill is a composer who writes popular things but we immediately know that it’s him. If you’re a well-educated composer you can do pastiche; it’s not that hard. But to find your own voice while doing something popular is hard. I’m trying to achieve that when I’m writing my cabaret show. I was listening to the One Touch of Venus CD with the wonderful singer Mary Martin. It’s just fun, something you listen to in the evening for pleasure.
Elena Langer’s Redmare is premiered by Charles Owen and Katya Apekisheva at the London Piano Festival at Kings Place, 7 October
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