Tippett. Hoy 2 de diciembre de 1970 se estrena la ópera "The Knot Garden".

Tippett nació el 2 de enero de 1905 y murió el 8 de enero de 1998.

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de 16:30 a 16:30

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The Knot Garden is the third opera by composer Michael Tippett for which he wrote the original English libretto. The work had its first performance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on 2 December 1970 conducted by Sir Colin Davis and produced by Sir Peter Hall. There is a recording with the original cast.

Performance history
The first American performance was in 1974 at Northwestern University, and the first German performance in 1987 at the Musiktheater im Revier in Gelsenkirchen. In 1984 Tippett authorised Meirion Bowen to create a reduced orchestration for a revival with the London Sinfonietta at the Wilde Theatre, conducted by Howard Williams. The reduced version has been revived six times, with productions in Britain, America, Australia, and Austria. There was a revival at the Royal Opera House in 1988, directed by Nicholas Hytner and, in 2005, Scottish Opera produced the opera for the Tippett centenary.

Act 1
The psychiatrist Mangus introduces the action. Thea enters, soon followed by the hysterical girl Flora, who rushes screaming into Thea's arms. Faber enters, and Thea sends Flora off with Mangus, then scolds Faber for (as she imagines) playing the lecher with Flora. Faber protests "I do not flirt with Flora; Flora screams before I...impossible!"

Mel and Dov enter dressed up as Ariel and Caliban from The Tempest. They are lovers, but Mel flirts with Thea, and out of jealousy Dov makes a play for Faber. This tense foursome is disrupted when Flora again rushes in screaming: Thea's sister Denise has arrived for a visit, and she is disfigured by torture. Denise introduces herself in a dramatic aria about her struggle for universal justice. This becomes an ensemble, and the act closes on Mel's soft rejoinder, "Sure, baby."

Act 2
The second act is a dreamlike series of dialogues. In the score, the composer described his vision of the staging: "It appears as if the centre of the stage had the power to 'suck in' a character at the back of the stage, say, and 'eject' him at the front. During their passage through the maze, characters meet and play out their scenes. But always one of the characters in these scenes is about to be ejected while a fresh character has been sucked in and is whirled to the meeting point."

The first pair to appear are Thea and Denise, who speak in parallel, unable to meet. Thea is replaced by Faber, who does make some contact with the touchy Denise, but she is then replaced by Flora, who again reacts to Faber with screams. She is whirled offstage and Denise reappears with a horsewhip, followed by Dov, who continues his earlier flirtation. Faber is responsive, but is spun offstage and replaced by Mel, and the lovers share a duet acknowledging that their affair is ending. Dov now disappears to be replaced by Denise, who sees Mel as representing the oppressed of the earth (the tune to "We Shall Overcome" appears in the orchestra). Characters appear and disappear in quick succession until the sequence ends with Flora alone with Dov.

Dov comforts Flora by encouraging her to sing, and she performs "Die liebe Farbe" from Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin. Dov responds with the song that would later form the first part of the Songs for Dov cycle. The act ends on Mel's re-entry.

Act 3
Mangus declares that his production of The Tempest has begun: "This garden is now an island," and the characters obligingly play out the roles Mangus assigns them. In addition to Mel and Dov as Caliban and Ariel, Faber becomes Ferdinand, Flora becomes Miranda, and Mangus is Prospero. Thea and Denise remain themselves and comment on the action, critical of Mangus's controlling and voyeuristic role as impresario of the drama. At the conclusion of the charade Mel and Denise leave together, followed by Dov, who is not yet able to let go. Flora goes off alone. Thea and Faber are reconciled.


Tippett The Knot Garden

Gramophone Magazine

Michael Oliver

If it is a sign of a great opera that it grows on each hearing, then The Knot Garden is a great opera. It has something to do, I think, with the way that its characters, so obviously in one sense symbols (look at their names!), do not cease existing when the opera ends (its last line, indeed, is ''the curtain rises''). Tippett himself, in the cycle of Songs for Dov, imagined a possible future for the character closest to him, the musician. But might there not also be songs for the adolescent Flora, the flower who has now opened, freed from the half-imagined, half-real sexual threat of her foster-father Faber, free to dance into the world outside the garden? Songs for Thea, no longer hiding from her marriage in that garden? Songs for Faber, too, no longer retreating in disillusion from a wife who has become ''usual, habitual'' to the business world where she cannot follow? And Denise the freedom-fighter (named for the martyred St Denis) and Mel, the black ''man of honey'', have their songs, perhaps, in Tippett's next opera, The Ice Break.

They are real characters, the more so because we have shared with them the self-knowledge they have gained in the knot garden (which is both moving labyrinth, hurling them together in catalytic conjunctions that are not of their choosing, and hortus conclusus, an enclosed secret place in which they may learn what they are seeking, if not yet find it).

The music grows, too, after 'the curtain rises'. The dazzling juxtapositions of vividly strange sounds that are one's first impression (the tense 'electric storm' music for strings and piano that opens the opera, the magic spell for celesta and harp with high flute staccatos that Mangus/Prospero summons up a moment later, the brilliant toccata for violins and brass that opens the drama proper, the beautiful horn chords with carolling solo violins that evoke Thea's garden) are a satisfyingly apt parallel to the cinematic cross-cuttings of the plot but, like them, are under masterfully purposive control. Prospero/Mangus/Tippett, wryly self-deflating 'man of power', has made a musico-dramatic image of harmony achieved through acceptance of diverse individuality: not the least of this opera's achievements is its unity of text, dramaturgy and music.

The superb peformance points this up: all of the singers (with the possible exception of Thomas Carey, who sounds slightly ill at ease) have passed far beyond conquering the music's very considerable technical difficulties into true involvement with their several-layered characters. Their predicaments are real and involving, and it is partly these singers' doing that one finds oneself imagining their sequels. The orchestral playing, too, is very find, and the recording is exceptionally vivid. Everyone concerned with the project, it seems, approached it with the conviction and commitment demanded by a great opera, and it is for us to judge whether it is. I have very little doubt of it.'

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