Make Mine Macabre
Hey, Hallowinners: Think you’re too fancy to stand in the middle of the Castro wearing devil horns and six-inch platforms? Fine. Try the San Francisco Opera’s production of Le Grand Macabre this Friday night. I won’t bore you with a lame synopsis of my own, when the official Web site says it so well:
The Spark: In 1974 Ligeti set out to write an “anti-opera” but found himself reinventing operatic traditions in his depiction of a land on the verge of an apocalypse.
The Story: Nekrotzar ascends from the graveyard in the form of the Grim Reaper and along with the drunkard and the astrologer proceeds to the court of Prince Go-Go. A series of disjointed scenes raises the question of whether they have witnessed the apocalypse or whether it has all been a great farce.
The Stage: Hailing from Copenhagen, this vibrantly colorful staging, set in a contemporary city by designer Steffen Aarfing, artfully and provocatively shows that sometimes the only way to grapple with the fear of death is by using the absurd.
The Score: Encompassing a collage of sonorities ranging from an ensemble of urban sounds to snippets of manipulated Beethoven, Rossini and Verdi, Ligeti takes listening to the next level.
Don’t fear the Reaper, folks. Especially when he’s singing.