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Messages - Johnny

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286
Robert,
Are we talking about the musical "Rasputin" or an opera about him. I don't know Reise. I heard excerpts of a musical about Rasputin over the internet. I don't think it was very good. You can't treat such a topic as a Broadway show and not become (as someone mentioned above) melodramatic. This topic needs a very objective and serious (I don't mean without humor, just respectful) treatment or it can easily become ridiculous.

287
Rodger,
I don't think historical accuracy is impoartant at all when it comes to opera. My complain is that in this particular case the real story (including the very possibly grossly exagerated accounts by Yussupov or others) is much more interesting, engaging, dramatic not to mention operatic than what the composer and librettist manage to put together. I could care less about historic accuracy if some other stuff would go on on the stage. There was nothing hapenning, neither in the paly nor in the music. It was plain boring. In most operas with a murder scene the victim doesn't die until he has sung three more arias. Here we have a famous case of someone who simply doesn't die and needs to be shot several times after he has been poisoned. But in the opera he just drops dead as soon as he's been shot. Talk about anti-dramatic! The creators of the opera didn't seem to have a dramatinc bone in their body. BTW, I have heard other stuff by the composer. She is an expert in composing boring stuff! That's what I think.

288
Hi all,
Last Sept. I flew from Boston to LA to see Deborah Dratell's (BTW, it is not Drateck, and it is pronounced dra-TELL) opera Nicholas and Alexandra. Someone in the forum said that he(she?) trusts his friend's artistic judgement of the opera and apparently it has been positive. I am a professional composer, with graduate degrees in composition, and adore opera, and let me tell you this was the most god-awful thing I had ever seen in my life. The characters were so one-dimensional and boring it wasn't even funny. Rasputin's real orgies (from the first hand accounts that I have read ) were much more interesting than the stupid thing that I saw on the stage. Alexei's bleeding episode was a joke. Anastasia was constantly called "Ania" which I am sure all of you know stands for Anna and never for Anastasia (my family is from Russia, so trust me on that one.) Rasputin's murder scene convinced me that neither the composer nor the librettist had ever bothered reading Yussupov's or Purishkevich's memoirs or Radzinsky's book on Rasputin, for that matter. They had probably tried to base their imaginary scene on the little account about the murder in Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra which doesn't provide much detail on the event, therefore they shamelessly managed to get all the details (that they had to invent) wrong. Except for Yussupov, the other murderers' names were all made up, and the murder scene was not only inaccurate but also toned down and totally unengaging and childishly silly. There was not a moment of real intensity. There was no tragedy nor any comic relief which Rasputin or the kids or even Alexandra could have provided. Anna Vyrubova apparently never existed for the creators of this opera, instead they had to make up a fictional friend for Alexandra. The music was the most appaling part of the whole thing. Not because it was modern and difficult to listen to. On the contrary, because it was so flat and unimaginative, without a single melody to stand out or any Russian local color. It was poorly orchestrated and almost amateurishly composed. It got the most horrendous reviews and it deserved all of them. One reviewer said that during one performance it seemed that the only thing that would make the audience happy was Dratell's head in recompense of having to sit through this most boring thing ever. Can you imagine turning one of the greatest stories in mankind's history into two hours of total boredom. As Alexandra often wrote in her letters to Nicholas:"Hang her!" >:(

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