Posts tagged ‘Vaughan Williams’

February 5, 2012

Vaughan Williams – The Poisoned Kiss

This is an opera that isn’t performed very often – I understand that the number of productions it has had since its composition is still in single figures, and the first non-UK production happened this month in New York. I’m not going to discuss the story here, because it’s utterly ludicrous, involving a girl brought up on poisons, and a boy brought up on antidotes… No, it’s making me cross just thinking about it. If you want to know more, then you could always check this version of the synopsis. As a reviewer of a recent production put it, “You have to wonder what Vaughan Williams was on when he composed [it]”.

Anyway, on to the music – mostly playable, but just a few little “moments”.

Overture

Here’s the first trickier bit, the main nastiness being due to a gratuitous tenor clef. I suspect that it used more ink to go into the tenor clef than it saved…

Me? Grumpy? Surely not!

And so into

Act 1

Number 5 – Ensemble

Moderato alla marcia? Hmm. Seems a bit brisk, but think of the Durham Light Infantry – their normal march step is quicker than most units’ quickstep, sorry, double time. The basic four-in-a-bar pulse stays the same between the 4/4 and 12/8.

Number 6 – Duet

Another brisk number… and, near the end, accidentals everywhere.

Number 8 – Ensemble

Starts out as a nice gentle Andantino, but then kicks into an Allegro, with a lot of semiquavers:

Number 13 – Finale

A couple of more interesting moments here. First off, a 3/4 section from Figure 57:

and the final chunk of the “Dance” starting just after figure 62:

Act 2

I’ve not highlighted anything of note in Act 2.

Act 3

Only one particularly tricky moment here.

Number 27 – Trio

There’s a sort of tango feel to this movement (see the tempo mark – “Tempo di Tango (molto moderato)”). However, just as you settle into it, there’s an unpleasant rhythmic kick in bars 6-8.

January 28, 2012

Two weeks, two operas

This is the busiest I’ve been on the bass for a while. I got asked a week or so ago if I would help out with Leeds University’s Opera Society’s production of Don Giovanni that runs next week, which is the week before I’m on a run of Leeds Youth Opera Group’s production of RVW’s Poisoned Kiss. Not much to say here – I’m not sure that I’ve yet played every note of Don G, and those that I have played have mostly been either under the fingers, or not too quick, but I do have a few things to say about Poison, which will get a separate post shortly.

LUU Opera Soc – Mozart – Don Giovanni – 1st-4th February 2012, 7:30pm, Riley Smith Hall, Leeds University. More details on their website.

LYOG – Vaughan Williams – Poisoned Kiss – 8th-11th February 2012, 7:30pm, Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds. More details on their website.