Magazine article Musical Opinion

The Sofa / the Departure

Magazine article Musical Opinion

The Sofa / the Departure

Article excerpt

The Sofa I The Departure

Elizabeth Maconchy Independent Opera

*****

ChandosCHAN 10508

[39/31 minutes]

Independent Opera's 2007's single production was a tribute to Elizabeth Maconchy in her centenary year; practically the only people to honour her so. Their production was a double bill of two short operas, The Sofa, in which a callow youth is turned into a sofa as a punishment by a vengeful grandmother, and The Departure, about a young girl returning home to see that everything is packed up and realises that she is dead.

The Sofa is a slightly better known work, with a libretto by Ursula Vaughan Williams, no less. A youth named Prince Dominic, tenor Nicholas Sherratt, has misjudged his grandmother who as a practising witch punishes him by turning him into a sofa. He can only change back if acts of love are performed upon his very cushions, so to speak. He quickly learns his lesson and is reborn when a party goes too far and a couple snog upon its fabric and he is reborn a chastened and wiser person. I was privileged to attend one of few performances of this work and can vouch that it was very funny and well scored. That said, those who haven't seen the opera will most probably be at a disadvantage. The piece is a comedy, something that this recording will never let you know. In the absence of visual clues this comes across instead as a piece of strident, and occasionally discordant music, more an historical note than piece of beauty. …

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