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Posted by / 10-Apr-2020 23:50

The roof’s sprung a leak and Guy urges Alice – plainly overwhelmed with everything (fear she’s a bad mother, sleep deprivation, general panic) – to deal with it. What follows is an intense extended hallucination in which roofers Cloudy (Ryder) and Fluff (Selina Martin, who helped create the characters with Ryder) enter the scene. The title of the play refers to the mammalian diving reflex, and the notion that if you blow in a baby’s face before putting it under water, it will hold its breath. All this plays out on director, choreographer and designer Monica Dottor’s beautiful set, made especially lovely with cloud constructions (Taylor Young provided assistance constructing these), which appear to hang from trees.All the actors handle the dialogue and Dottor’s choreography – which often comes out of nowhere and heightens the hallucinatory effect – superbly.After Orest avenges his father by killing his mother, he never returns to the stage in as he is already being pursued by the Furies for matricide—and this storyline continues in Greek legend and the tragedies based on it.The mythological Electra is much different from Hofmannsthal’s.The COC Orchestra under Johannes Debus follows Goerke in close step—which with a reinforced army of musicians resulting in three violin and viola sections, as well as bulked up clarinets, horns and trumpets—is a considerable achievement.Richard Strauss’ score, the first of his many collaborations with librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, has a well-deserved reputation for loudness but it also contains intimate and lyrical moments where is called for.But here – especially in the characterization of Guy, who’s more of a dick than the play requires – the comedy often gets in the way.There’s a lot of yelling and anger – which is an element of depression, for sure – but precious few quieter, down moments.

Michael Schade’s Aegisth is a fabulous comic miniature.The music often abandons tonality, and yet the sweeping late-Romantic vocabulary of Stauss’s subsequent works is undeniably there.The Orchestra nimbly negotiates all the atmospheric shifts.In Euripides’ telling, she was cast out of Clytemnestra’s house and married off to a peasant before Orestes finds her, and in Aeschylus’ version the siblings meet at Agamemnon’s grave and are further urged on by the very active chorus.It’s Sophocles’ version that Hofmannsthal follows most closely, with Electra and Chrysothemis reduced to servant status at their mother’s home and Electra passively waiting for the arrival of the brother as .

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Together with brother Orest (bass Wilhelm Schwinghammer) as a Victorian gentleman returned from foreign travels, the trio has not a small hint of the Brontës about them, and of the Brontës’ obsessed and cursed characters.