Do you know how much it costs to go to the opera? I do! The English National Opera – Aka ENO – offers tickets from £12 (it might be even cheaper for the lonely seat right behind the pillar!). Now if you’re a bit of a show-off and can afford it, you can go for more expensive; as a cheap seat rat, I have no clue what you’d see from there.
This Saturday, ENO premiered Marnie at the Coliseum. It’s the third opera written by Nico Muhly – not bad really, especially considering he was born in 1981. It was my first time seeing an opera written in this century. It’s about a pretty con artist, Marnie – who you’re totally rooting for before the end of the first act -, how we represent ourselves and how much your parents can make you crazy.
It was a great performance. Sasha Cooke, who played the title role of Marnie, sung beautifully, the story was interesting enough to make me overlook the singing child – I do not care for singing children – and a few lines were actually funny.
The sets were clever. To allow them to change as often as it did, it was basically a bunch of moving panels; here comes the clever bit: they were moved by actors/dancers that were more or less constantly present on stage, just lurking around in their grey suits. It helped create that creepy atmosphere of impeding doom – like you know Marnie is gonna get in trouble, and the grey men are here to remind you she knows it too.
Now, there were a few points that I had reservations on. What immediately struck me was that it reads like a film. It did make it hard to be involved in the show as much as I wish I had been. But I think the main problem coming from that was the dialogue. At times, it felt like the lines were way too casual to be sung in the dramatic opera singing style without becoming slightly grotesque.
My biggest point of complain though is elsewhere. The horse. There is this whole thing about Marnie’s horse in the story. You know, sometimes you’re reading a great book or watching a great movie and then out of nowhere, there is that weird detail that just makes you go “wait, come again? What was that?” and you just can’t get over it. The horse just did not make sense – I do need to clarify, there was no horse actually present in the building.
Anyway, I still recommend it – just try to ignore the horse parts and you’re good to go. Some tickets – yes, even some cheap ones – are still available for the upcoming representations, they will be held until the 3rd of December. If not this one, I think you should still give opera a try – it’s way more fun that people realise. So here’s a link where you can book ticket to have some fancy fun at the opera too!