The Intelligence Park
Music by Gerald Barry
Libretto by Vincent Deane
Music Theatre Wales and The Royal Opera with London Sinfonietta
RNCM Theatre, 12 October 2019
The structure attracts one’s attention because it is so unusual in design. There is an opera composer who is tempted by a castrato, the singer appearing in his current production. While in turn the said castrato falls for the composer’s bride to be.
With great verve the opera explores the relation between life and art (we watch as the composer’s anxieties acted out by singers in Frank Sidebottom heads) and the malleability of gender and sexuality. At times there is a frenzy to the music; we are in a torture garden of acrid blooms, sweet and sickly blossoms. You feel zest, yes that is true, yet it is undercut with agony. That sense of a boundless freedom marred by shards of compulsion. And on some mornings, the question: do you step out into the sunlit landscape or do yourself in? Not a question for me, I should add, rather one for the protagonist here.
An interesting production of an interesting opera.