New World Order: The Conspiracy to Rule Your Mind chronicles how the ruling elite have established global domination and the ability to effect the thoughts, decisions, and world view of ... See full summary »
Apple and Ridley Scott presented the most awaited event of 1984: the introduction of Apple Macintosh personal computer to the world. With a concept directly influenced by George Orwell's ... See full summary »
I saw 1984 with great interest. I like Simon Keenlyside, and consider 1984 one of the most important masterpieces of literature. The opera and production are both as intriguing. As an opera, 1984 is not perhaps a great one but it is hardly one to dismiss. It follows closely the structure of the book with a vast majority of its emotional impact. The music- by American conductor Lorin Maazel- won't be everybody's taste, being very dissonant and expressionistic, almost reminiscent of Berg's Wozzeck and Strauss' Elektra. Appreciating this style of music more, though not exactly loving it, the music did fit the atmosphere perfectly and was mostly arresting. If there is anything though that I don't care much for about the opera, it's that I do feel that some of the monologues went on for too long.
The production is very good. It is dark and bleak-looking, but so is the story, so that visual style was wholly appropriate and very effective. The staging has the right kind of foreboding, dispiriting emptiness and chills, the ideas of the totalitarian society and indoctrination were present and done in a way that was nail-biting to watch. The production was photographed crisply and unobtrusively, and the sound is excellent. The orchestra have a powerful and healthily blended sound, making the most dissonant moments genuinely hair-raising. And you couldn't have a better conductor for the piece than the composer himself, Maazel makes it very clear what he wants and does so with musicality without becoming self-indulgent. I may be going out on a limb with that last point though because I do have a sense that, while I don't think so, that that criticism is going to be brought up. The performances are generally very well done. Richard Margison wasn't quite cunning enough for O'Brien but he did bring a knowing sense to the role and his voice has a good ring to it. Lawrence Brownlee and Diana Damrau are luxury casting. Nancy Gustafson has a beautiful and well-projected voice and is feisty and resourceful as Julia, if not what you consider boyish. Simon Keenlyside carries the day being the embodiment of Winston with very assured, sonorously-toned singing.
All in all, interesting and well done but not for everybody. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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