In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera


Nov 2, 2016 4:55:09 PM
By Laura Stanfield Prichard

Greek: A story written by a supervillain

This contemporary English opera is based on the 1980 play of the same title by actor and playwright Steven Berkoff. In film, Berkoff has brought to life many memorable villains, such as Victor Maitland in Beverly Hills Cop and General Orlov in Octopussy.

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Berkoff as General Orlov in Octopussy.


Greek: Where it’s at

Turnage’s opera Greek was premiered in the Carl-Orff-Hall of Munich’s Gasteig complex. This room, specially built to house audiences of 550-590, is considered the most successful part of the Gasteig. BLO will perform Greek in Emerson’s renovated, Art Deco style, 590-seat Paramount theater, recreating the intimacy and acoustics of the work’s premiere. Although some operas benefit from houses that can seat over 2,000 people, most are best heard in more immediate settings, with the performers close to the audience. When famed conductor Leonard Bernstein was asked his opinion of the Gasteig’s larger Philharmonic Hall (which can seat 2,300 people), he replied, “Burn it.”

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Carl-Orff-Saal, Munich                    

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Paramount Center

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Gasteig Philharmonie, Munich


Composer Mark-Anthony Turnage was the BBC Symphony’s first Associate Composer and held the post of Composer in Residence for the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 2005-2010. Last year he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to music.

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Turnage with conductor Daniel Harding after the BSO’s American premiere of his Speranza in 2013


About the Writer:

Laura Stanfield Prichard is a Visiting Researcher in Music and Dance History at Harvard University and regular contributor to the Boston Musical Intelligencer. After teaching and performing in San Francisco for ten years, she is now a popular pre-concert speaker and university lecturer in the Boston (principal speaker for Boston Baroque and Berkshire Choral International). She was an Assistant Director for the SF Symphony Chorus under Vance George’s direction, and is a regular speaker/writer for the Chicago Symphony, New World Symphony, SF Symphony, SF Opera, and Merola Program.


Join us at Greek Nov. 16-20

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