Monday, October 16, 2006

Tonight's Opera

Thespis kicked me about 2AM this morning.

Setting: The Izu Peninsula of Japan

Period: Circa 1905 to 1910

Back story: The fourth or fifth son of a British aristocrat, with little chance of succeeding to the title but sufficient income to please himself, becomes a marine biologist and settles on Izu with his wife and small daughter. Before the Opera opens the wife dies. Absorbed in his studies, the father allows the child to grow up at his side and among the children of the fishing village they live near. This is not so much an unstructured upbringing as it is a thoroughly unconventional one.

Plot: At nineteen our heroine is become a beauty and attracts the attention of a young Japanese Biologist who works with her Father. Father is informed that with the death of the last surviving brother he now succeeds to the family title, an Earldom which happens to be full of tin -- literally and metaphorically. This brings the attention of the diplomatic community in Tokyo. Among these is a visiting nob who falls for our heroine. The rest of the opera works out this situation. It does so on two levels: the present and her memories of growing up. So that in the midst of a drawing room scene of wooing, the heroine's memories of racing with her rarely freed Japanese companions over the hills and shores of Izu. Both scenes occupy the stage at the same time with only the heroine and the audience aware of both.

The Music: What a grand blend of Sullivan, Elgar, Holst and Shakuhachi, samisen and koto. But that's only a suggestion to the composer.

Theme: She says: But I'm not English, do you see? I was born here and spent all my life here. I am of Japan. Yet -- you see my dilemma -- I am not Japanese! I am my own peculiar self and you will find it hard to have me to wife. I will be too Japanese or too English and not enough of either to please you or any other.

Then Morpheus reclaimed me. damn.

-- ml

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