The Handmaid’s Tale will play on historic basketball court

The Handmaid’s Tale will play on historic basketball court


norman lebrecht

May 10, 2018

Boston Lyric Opera is planning to stage The Handmaid’s Tale, Poul Ruders’ opera on Margaret Atwood’s novel of female servitude.

The venue it has chosen is Lavietes Pavilion at Harvard Athletics Complex,  the world’s second-oldest college basketball court. “

‘We found a space that reflects the proportions and ambitions of this work and brings it home – in a sense – to some locations dramatized in Ms. Atwood’s original book,’ says BLO boss Esther Nelson.



  • Jon H says:

    And some gymnasiums do have better acoustics than some concert halls.

  • Stuart says:

    Probably more interesting than the choice of space, the Boston Lyric will be presenting a different opera than the one I saw at the ENO back in 2003. From their press release: “BLO commissioned a re-orchestrated score from Ruders and obtained permission to revise the opening and closing scenes. The story takes place in the Republic of Gilead, a dystopian society formed by American Christian fundamentalists who assassinate the President and construct a rigid class system for women. The Handmaid’s Tale
    is anchored by Offred, a woman who rebels against the patriarchal rules through alliances and secretive friendships that she hopes will help uncover the fate of her husband and child, as well as preserve her story for future”

    • Greg Hlatky says:

      I have an idea for another opera libretto. The Attorney General of a large, wealthy state poses publicly as a defender and protector of women while in private his relations with feminist lawyers is a master-slave relationship and physically and mentally abusive and threatening.

      The friends and associates of these women tell them not to say anything because the AG is too valued an ally to lose. In time, one of them speaks out and the AG resigns in disgrace but the ending is an unhappy one, as the social-political beliefs of both protagonists and antagonists are shown to combine hypocrisy and ambition.

      However, I am well aware this scenario is too outlandish for anyone to believe.