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The Makropulos Case

Music by Leoš Janáček

Opera North

The Lowry, 8 November 2012

Yiva Kihiberg as Emilia Marty: great voice, great legs.  Photo credit: Donald Cooper.

Yiva Kihiberg as Emilia Marty: great voice, great legs. Photo credit: Donald Cooper.

She was only an alchemists daughter…

… but her beauty had a wild chemistry that made mice of men.

Yiva Kihiberg plays the lead role, opera diva Emilia Marty, and she makes for a formidable femme fatale.  She has a great voice, great legs and is seductive as all hell.  Nor can one doubt the dramatic power of Janáček’s music, and do listen out for the astonishing dissonant screech that closes act two.

Yet the opera feels truncated and the denouement comes much too soon.  The final act is too short; the  intrigue that has been so expertly built up is dissipated prematurely. 

Also, one feels on reflection that certain themes could have been brought out more fully.  There is, for example, a moment in act three where Emilia renounces immortality and embraces at last her creatureliness, including naturally her own death.  It is an heroic act on her part – she doesn’t get many – but there’s no emphasis in the score and the moment swiftly passes by.

This production is top notch as far as that goes, well up to Opera North’s high standards, but taken as a whole the opera feels curiously incomplete.

The Makropulos Case is touring throughout November, further details are here.

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