Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Castor and Pollux - ENO


Castor and Pollux by the ENO is a modern adaptation of Rameau's opera Castor et Pollux. It depicts the Greek classical story of the two brothers who love each other so dearly they are prepared to sacrifice their life and their lovers for each other. I quite like the modern take, though certain treatments are a bit weird if you ask me - for example, I don't understand why the nymphs have to keep removing their panties when they are trying to tempt Pollux to stay on Mount Olympus (there were ever so many panties to remove, it's both hilarious and embarrassing); and why, when Castor is in hell, the others in funny clothing suddenly begin to remove their clothes and start walking naked on stage. The nudity isn't necessary, in my opinion, as it has nothing whatsoever to do with the plot (or anything, for that matter) and it's actually quite distracting! (It's hard not to stare at the naked people walking around...) I also find the scene where a hand 'comes out' of the hill to 'finger' Phébé quite disturbing... what does that mean???? But overall it's an interesting take and the music's a lot better than other modern operas of ENO's (e.g. The Passenger, Two Boys) we've watched!

On another note, I can see how this story (and in particular, the last scene of Télaïre wandering aimlessly on stage after both Castor and Pollux are 'received' by Jupiter) can be interpreted by feminists as having a phallocentric theme. Romantic love involving a woman does not matter, despite the fact that both brothers are supposedly in love with Télaïre, and both women in the story - the evil Phébé and the loved Télaïre, are abandoned and punished for their love in the end. What kind of story is that? 

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