MORE THEATRICAL THAN OPERATIC
F. FUNES | WHITE PLAINS,NEW YORK | 09/05/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have to credit danish composer Poul Ruders for his supreme effort in musicizing such a complex work like Margaret Attwood's
prizewinning novel and translate it into TJENERINNENDES FORTAELNING.It's a great job,specially the part of Offred,which
can be extremely taxing for the poor soprano who takes it on.
As for the rest of the piece,to me it sounds more like modern theatre rather than opera,like many other works by composers like Harrison Birtwistle,York Holler or David Blake.Listening to this work means a powerful schock to the system,so if you're not into this type of works,just handle it with tongs...
It would be great to listen to the piece without the libretto first,just the music,then follow it with the text,although I'm fully conscious that both things form a compact block in this
particular work.Enjoy,as much as you can and be warned of where political and mainly religious fanaticism could lead us all to,which is one of the many messages of Attwood's novel and by extension of Ruders piece."
Thomas F. Dillingham | Columbia, Missouri USA | 07/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ruders and Bentley, along with the outstanding cast and orchestra of this recorded performance, have captured the core of Margaret Atwood's horrific vision of a possible future. Ruders's music is astonishingly inventive (as the other reviewers have pointed out), with moments of intensity that rival, for example, Strauss's "Elektra" or Berg's "Lulu," while managing to remain singable and listenable. The libretto distils the strongest moments of Atwood's narrative into what must be intense dramatic moments onstage. (Too bad the film did not have a similarly inventive screenplay.)I suspect this will rank among the best of 20th century operas and may well be among the few that receive many productions."