As second thump at Morgen und Abend on Saturday before the run finished, and I took the advice of a Guardian reviewer and concentrated on the score and how it reflected grief.
A few observations:
1) It isn't a difficult or even particularly demanding piece.
2) From the middle of the stalls you cannot see the large drums being banged, and it seems much more organic, intuitive; where you sit for this production will have a major impact.
3) I still don't like the unnecessary amplification of the actor at the beginning. Talking with an orchestra backdrop is music and it is unnecessary. If it was designed to reflect some separation from us the living (or possibly the dead as he came to meet us), then it was a regrettable gimmick and the sound and staging should do this. After two trips, I am still not entirely sure quite sure what is going on there.
4) I still didn't like having a bright light sung in my eyes.
5) The Guardian suggestion is spot-on for a second visit. Just as Bacon carefully captured the colours of grief in his paintings shortly after George Dyer's death, in pinks and purples, Haas has summoned up the equivalent sound world. In this the beauty lies.
6) A final question is this: is it even an opera?
‘In Memory of George Dyer
‘In Memory of George DyerI still haven't entirely made up my mind about it, but I am glad I had more time to figure it out.
Production finished but will be broadcast on Radio 3 on Saturday, 5th December at 18:30.
More detailed notes made after opening night here, including full cast.