Oscar’s Opera

The operatic version of The Importance of Being Earnest is finally out as disk/download and judging from the excerpts so generously supplied by the Gramophone site, it’s quite fun. Swoopy, angular, sharp. Gerald Barry’s fast-paced adaptation premiered in Los Angeles in 2011 and has since been performed in London, Belfast and Nancy, France. Barry, who created the libretto himself, cut some three-quarters of the play’s text but apparently kept some of the best bon mots, including the famously subversive crack about effeminacy in men: “I don’t like that. It makes men so very attractive.” Lady Bracknell, often played in drag, is cast as a bass.

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