Thursday, March 8, 2007

Viewpoint: Modern Drama

A rather interesting article on the work of Frank Wedekind is in the March, 2007 issue of Opera News. F. Paul Driscoll 's piece begins
The characters and situations created by German-born playwright Frank Wedekind (1864–1918) have lost none of their power to shock and disturb audiences. The feral, heartless temptress at the heart of Wedekind's Lulu plays is familiar to opera aficionados as the femme fatale of Alban Berg's Lulu; for film buffs, the personification of Wedekind's cunning mantrap is Louise Brooks, in G. W. Pabst's classic silent film Pandora's Box. Brooks's keen intelligence and highly individual "look" — sharp, shining eyes, immaculately trim legs and a glossy helmet of bobbed black hair — conspired to create one of cinema's enduring erotic icons. But what makes Pandora's Box, first released in 1929, still feel freshly-minted is the character of Lulu, the amoral, unapologetic adventuress that Wedekind put on paper more than a decade before Brooks was born. Alban Berg'sLulu is still thought of as a "modern" opera, although the composer has been dead for more than seventy years; it will always seem so, because its leading character refuses to age. Lulu's fascination lies in her ability to simulate freshness; she attracts men because her possibilities seem endless. Her life, for as long as it lasts, is lived in the future tense. 

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