Work of the Week - Mark-Anthony Turnage: Greek
25 years after its premiere Mark-Anthony Turnage's first opera, Greek, still has massive impact, with new productions almost every year. 26 May is the opening night of one such production at the Landestheater in Salzburg, directed by Andreas Gergen, designed by Stephan Prattes, and with Leo Hussain conducting the Mozarteumorchester Salzburg.
Commissioned for the Munich Biennale in 1988, Greek immediately established Turnage's international reputation. Steven Berkoff's play from 1980, on which the opera was based, transported the Oedipus myth to the violent, run-down, problem ridden East End of London of that era. The story focuses on Eddy who, by a grim turn of events, fulfils a prophecy to kill his father and marry his mother. Mark-Anthony Turnage's adaptation for just four singers and 19 players surges with raw power and emotion, drawing from a range of music traditions including jazz and hip hop.
I'd always had a problem with classical music being a minority thing. But while I was uncomfortable with only a certain amount of people from a certain class listening to this music, I didn't become political about it until I met Henze… in my early 20s I became very anti-Thatcher and anti-Conservative which was reflected in Greek. – Mark-Anthony Turnage
The Landestheater's production is one of three mounted in Europe this anniversary year. In addition to a staging at CampusOne in Karlsruhe earlier this spring, will revive their 2011 production in October with performances in Cardiff, Birmingham, and at London's Royal Opera House.
photo: Komische Oper Berlin / Wolfgang Hilse
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