Monday, 21 March 2011

Royal Academy Opera ... Kommilitonen!

Peter Maxwell Davies's new opera Kommilitonen premiered at the Royal Academy of Music in London on Friday to stonking reviews. A sell out audience which included Simon Callow and Lesley Garrett gave standing ovations as David Pountney and Sir Maxwell Davies took their bows. The cast gave a tremendous performance and the final production feels like a true artistic achievement.

Unlike the recent Anne Nicole, a satirical 'docu-opera', the subject matter here is the gritty historical reality of three intertwining stories of student protest and youthful determination against all-powerful regimes: James Meredith as the first black man to enrol in an American University, the sisters Scholl, and their campaign of protest against the Nazi regime and finally the denunciations of the Chinese cultural revolution.

Pountney and 'Max' have collaborated for the third time in this opera and it is hard not to be moved by its intrinsic story telling, the symphonic maturity of the music and the ever horrendous impact of the looming oppressors. Yet we, the cast round up the bitter central highlight of the opera with a grand chorus plea for freedom. It is art to conjure hope; A testament to time. Opera, after all is by no means 'dead'.

There are three more performances at the Royal Academy of Music. Reviews on Times Online,, Guardian, Telegraph and Evening Standard.

Monday 21 March 2011 19.00
Wednesday 23 March 2011 19.00
Friday 25 March 2011 19.00

In November the production will move to the Juilliard School in New York.