Cool Austrian reception for new Ades opera

The first review in the Salzburger Nachrichten acknowledges frenzied applause for The Exterminating Angel, but finds the plot boring and lacking in surprise: Wer Intention, Stück und Aufführung so zu lesen versuchte, musste sich wie im falschen Film wähnen. Wen das nicht anfocht, jubelte aus seiner Sicht womöglich zu Recht.

Der Standard notes that the Thomas Ades premiere, based on a Luis Bunel film, was a substitute for an intended opera by the late György Ligeti.

BR Klassik decides it is ‘doomed to failure’. Es bleibt der Nachgeschmack: Buñuel zu vertonen, ist im Grunde zum Scheitern verurteilt.

First social media reactions from British spectators are considerably more enthusiastic.

The opera will be seen at Covent Garden next April.

 

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  • Contradictory reviews of a new work are always a good signal. It means that it does not easily fit into a little music review box. And some condemnation is good too, much worse is the bland, well-meaning reaction of profound non-commitment….. to avoid appearing in the next edition of Slonimsky’s ‘Lexicon of Musical Invective’.

  • The Salzburger Nachrichten article says NOTHING about finding “the plot boring and lacking in surprise”. Mr Harb merely states that he found the opera too loud and bombastic to do justice to the surrealism and claustrophobia of the film it is based upon. That’s why he felt he was “in the wrong film”. He also thinks people who do not seek the message of the film in the opera might get more out of the music than he did.

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