Higglety Pigglety Pop! is an opera based on Maurice Sendak's book, with Sendak writing the opera libretto and doing the production design. Visually it's as exciting as one would expect directly from Sendak: the costumes and motion evoke the whimsy and the beauty and the emotions that we see in Sendak's drawings. The sets are similarly detailed and lovely.
Aurally, it's a different matter. Oliver Knussen's music screams mid-century academic classical music, under the philosophy that if it sounds like anything familiar, it must be bad. One result is that the music is immediately unappealing. Another is that the excellent vocalists end up screaming half the time because they are struggling so hard to find the pitch -- which they accomplish but at the cost of attention to vocal quality. Yet another is that it's nearly impossible to understand the lyrics without turning on the subtitles (which thankfully are present most of the time) -- comprehension is always a problem in opera, but it should have been possible to do better in a recording! So fans of mid-20th-century opera may appreciate the composition -- though Knussen is certainly no Carlisle Floyd. Others may prefer to ignore the soundtrack and just watch.
It's available on DVD with Where the Wild Things Are on the same disc. Netflix carries it. This review is basically the same for both films.
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