There’s a new opera in town – and it includes plate smashing, megaphones and cucumber sandwiches
31 March 2016, 14:26
Gerald Barry’s unlikely opera interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s classic The Importance of Being Earnest might be one of the best operas of recent times. But more importantly it surely breaks a record for toasted tea cake consumption.
Barry’s opera was first performed back in 2011 and it has proved a pretty much instant hit. (The current run at the Barbican is sold out – but you can watch a live stream of the performance on 2nd April.)
One of the (many) reasons it’s been such a hit is Barry’s use of… unorthodox instruments. Here are some of the best.
Also known as a friction idiophone. Anyway, it creates a sound of wind. But that's not what Barry uses it for, that would be far too obvious. He just uses it like any other instrument – for the noise it makes.
That’s right. At particularly high points of tension, a member of the percussion section dons a pair of protective goggles and has the best time:
These aren’t even really instruments, are they Barry? But that doesn’t stop him…
Contrabassoon (honorary mention)
This is an instrument, but it has a prominent role in the opera and when is that ever a sentence you can say about the contrabassoon. Let's all take a moment to appreciate the contrabassoon.
Hob nailed boots
For angry stomping bits.
But with less Mahler.
And a whole LOAD of tea and cakes
You can watch the whole opera, absolutely free, on Saturday 2nd April via the Royal Opera House's YouTube channel. Find out more here.
Pictures: ROH/Stephen Cummiskey