What a strange, scary, and remarkable year 2020 has been, in all our lives! The social isolation that I have carried out pretty consistently has led me to look to music even more than usual for solace, enlightenment, and pleasant distraction. I gather that many music lovers have traveled a somewhat similar path since mid-March. My penchant for opera, and for vocal music and for the theatre generally, has led me to get to know a number of recent CD releases, many of which I have reviewed for American Record Guide or for various online magazines.
The raucous, kaleidoscopic intertextual mash-up of Beaumarchais, Mozart, Rossini, Strauss, and Peter Weiss is grand entertainment. It is so obsessively referential to other operas and plays that the nearly three hours of puns, parodies and lampoons might be wasted on anyone other than certified opera nerds. One might believe that William Hoffman and John Coragliano overdosed on Douglas Hofstadter’s reflection on self-reflection, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Michael Zemeckis’ Future franchise films, and von Hofmannsthal/Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.