Academic journal article Notes

Gian Carlo Menotti

Academic journal article Notes

Gian Carlo Menotti

Article excerpt

Gian Carlo Menotti. Help, Help, the Globolinks! DVD. Matthias Kuntzsch / Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, Ballet of the Hamburg State Opera and Children's Choir of the NDR. With Edith Mathis, Arlene Saunders, Raymond Wolansky, William Workman, Kurt Marschner, Ursula Boese, Franz Grundheber, Noël Mangin. Leipzig: Arthaus Musik, 2007. 101 281. $29.99.

Gian Carlo Menotti composed Help, Help, the Globolinks! in 1968 as a pro-music opera for "children and those still young at heart." Unlike his earlier and more successful works, including The Consul (1950) and The Saint of Bleeker Street (1955), The Globo - links contains little of Menotti's usual originality or charm. The music is in the style of Puccini, accessible and light but not particularly interesting. The plot too is simple: aliens invade Earth, music drives them away. The audience is pounded with the message that music is important and good. Although Menotti had written well for children previously-his television opera Amahl and the Night Visitors has become a holiday staple-this work is condescending to the audience and without much merit, save for students of Menotti's works or designers interested in the aesthetic of the German avant-garde of the 1960s.

This DVD contains a version of the opera filmed in 1969 and based on the premiere's staging and design. The audio quality is very good, but the video has been reclaimed from old footage and is grainy. While the singing is generally very good, the production itself can only be described as "trippy." In the first scene, schoolchil - dren dressed much like the Von Trapp clan find themselves lost in the woods, and soon strange creatures appear, accompanied by an abstract light show set among "steel towers fitted with tilting and rotating mirrors." (DVD booklet, 14) These creatures are the Globolinks. Female Globolinks are portrayed by acrobats in vivid leotards with ten-foot quills rising from their backs, much like porcupines. …

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