Saturday, December 29, 2007

He's got plenty of strings

Sounds worth a trip to Leeds in the middle of winter to see the delectable Jonathan Dove's new opera The Adventures of Pinocchio. Richard Morrison in The Times says:
"Tidings of great joy: a Christmas miracle in Leeds! A modern composer has produced a new opera that is funny, poignant, tuneful, spectacular – and, best of all, stunningly conceived for all the family. To find an opera house full of eight-year-olds, held spellbound throughout a show lasting nearly three hours, is rare enough. To find that discerning adults – and yes, even grizzled old critics – are also grinning from ear to ear at the final curtain is pretty well unprecedented.

This must be Jonathan Dove’s finest hour. The Hackney-based composer has produced some entertaining community and youth-orientated shows over the past couple of decades. But with the help of a delightfully droll libretto from his long-time collaborator, Alasdair Middleton, he has turned Carlo Collodi’s classic fairytale into a surreal wonderland of music-theatre that leaves an indelible impression..."

I'm a great fan of Dove, having fallen madly in love with his community opera Tobias and the Angel when it was first performed in a converted church in Islington a few years back; much enjoyed Flight at Glyndebourne, too. It must have been a tall order to write a Pinocchio since every 5-year-old in this country still knows all the original songs, more than 60 years after the film's release. Pinocchio even pipped Korngold's score for The Sea Hawk to the Oscar post. Not much chance of my going north to hear the new opera at the moment as have to administer lemsips to ailing hubby, but with a reception like that perhaps the Dove will wing its way south before long.

More from composer and librettist about the opera in The Guardian, here.