07 septembre 2016

9月6日 ロンドンでオペラ『マンデラ・トリロジー』 Mandela Trilogy, Royal Festival Hall, London — ‘Cartoonish’

Le mardi 6 septembre 2016


監督にして作者であるMichael Williansにも言い分があるようだが、大いに反省の余地がありそうだ。


Mandela Trilogy, Royal Festival Hall, London — ‘Cartoonish’
1 septembre 2016  Financial Times

You could call it an impossible task, condensing Nelson Mandela’s life story into a two-hour musical-cum-opera. Still, on one level, Cape Town Opera has done it. Mandela Trilogy, conceived by the company’s managing director Michael Williams in the run-up to Mandela’s 92nd birthday in 2010, is now on its second UK visit, and has plenty of razzmatazz to fire up its audience. Wednesday’s semi-staged London premiere, part of the Southbank Centre’s Africa Utopia festival, brought many spectators whooping to their feet. What a shame, then, that the work is only skin-deep.
This is no tale of internal struggle, of personal or political development. No, it lurches like a comic strip, from Mandela’s early years and tribal initiation rites, through his career in the African National Congress, to the final episode of the trilogy: his 27-year stint in a South African prison and his 1990 release. The result is a flat libretto — courtesy of Williams — that relies for life-support on clunky narration, and a protagonist as roughly hewn as a cartoon. We see, on one hand, a messianic figure uttering slogans on freedom, on the other, a callous womaniser. About the grey areas in between, not least the subtleties of Mandela’s politics, Williams apparently has little to say.

Nor does Mike Campbell’s and Péter Louis van Dijk’s score, which plays out like a catchy pop-hymn. There is authentic Xhosa folk music and jazz. There is contemporary opera, with a heavy dollop of Broadway. It is rousing and invigorating, but even in decibel levels it can’t make up what it lacks in originality.

The musicians do their best: conductor Tim Murray squeezes a chandelier-shattering performance out of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, while the chorus sings brilliantly and dances with infectious energy. But only one of the three singers playing Mandela — Mandla Mndebele — has the vocal power and lustre for the role. The others — Thato Machona and Peace Nzirawa — had a few wobbles. Shackled by Williams’s wooden direction, they channelled something of the pantomime. Mandela, in all his complexity, deserved better.

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