Columns linked to Allison Cook

A New Opera: l'Enigma di Lea

Xavier Pujol

Finally, after many years, Liceu has hosted the world premiere of an opera, L’enigma di Lea by Benet Casablancas with text by Rafael Argullol. Casablancas, born in 1956, is one of the main current Catalan composers. Although his catalogue is long and varied this is his first opera. Rafael Argullol, born in 1949, is a poet, novelist, philosopher, essay writer and university professor in aesthetics and art theory. The piece, described by the librettist as a ‘mythical...

Radical but Flawed Presentation of Salome at the London Coliseum

Sam Smith

Despite only being mentioned briefly in the New Testament, the character of Salome has certainly caught the imagination as she has pervaded art, literature and music over the centuries. In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark she is described as a girl who pleased King Herod so much at his birthday feast with her dancing that he promised her anything she desired. After consulting Herodias, the husband of Herod and her mother, she asked for the head of John the Baptist on a plate, with Herodias...

Quartett at the Liceu: some distressing unbearable truths

Xavier Pujol

Composer Luca Francesconi clarified the purpose of his piece to journalist Tom Service (The Guardian 19/06/2014) for the premiere of his opera Quartett in London in 2014: Don’t dare to come if you can't accept that you need to analyse what you do and who you are. This piece is violent, it’s sex, it’s blasphemy, it’s the absence of mercy. The only two characters in the opera are the definition of cynical, they have made a pact that they don’t have to...