A Mad Monarch–Could This Musical Drama Have Any Contemporary Relevance?

Those classical music followers who know Peter Maxwell Davies’ sonorous picture postcard “An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise” for orchestra or his haunting chamber opera The Lighthouse will find his 1969 “8 Songs for a Mad King” rather shocking. One of the British composer’s brash, avant-garde theater pieces from his rebellious early days, “8 Songs” kidnaps the precious, angular Sprechstimme of Arnold Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire” and transforms it into an agonizing howl worthy of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” And these “8 Songs” are not some Schubertian song cycle of discrete ballads set to pretty poems, but rather a continuous vocal tirade for bass and six instruments that runs the gamut of cr

Fringe picks: '8 Songs' is mad fun at festival

The San Diego International Fringe Festival, whose fifth edition is now in full (and often freaky) flower here and in Tijuana, is a definition-defying mix of theater, dance, music and multiple other modes of expression. (Check out our full preview here.) Some of its 80-odd shows, of course, take on familiar forms: Short plays, comic and/or confessional monologues, choreographic showcases. And then something comes along that will make you say: “Only at Fringe.” (And thank the weird-art gods — and festival organizers — for that.) Case in point: “8 Songs for a Mad King,” the immersive, opera-meets-tweeting-meets-Trump spectacle whose final Fringe performance is (very unfortunately) today. The p

8 SONGS FOR A MAD KING WINS BIG

"The big winner was probably no surprise to those who saw it: “8 Songs for a Mad King,” the trippy and interactive opera-meets-Twitter-meets-Trump experience at the U.S. Grant Hotel." After 10 days and some 500 performances from 80-plus acts, the fifth annual San Diego International Fringe Festival had its swan song on Sunday.But not without handing out awards — more than 30 of them, as befits the sprawling size of the cross-border fest.The big winner was probably no surprise to those who saw it: “8 Songs for a Mad King,” the trippy and interactive opera-meets-Twitter-meets-Trump experience at the U.S. Grant Hotel. (We reviewed that one earlier.)It was also gratifying to see the fiercely poe

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square