Friday, 14 March 2008

Missing intervals

We're off to the Barbican tonight to see Bach's St. John Passion with Ian Bostridge as the Evangelist. They have the admirable facility of being able to view the pdf of the programme in advance. I was glancing at it and noticed that the Passion is being played without an interval - estimated running time 2 hours 15 minutes.

Now you can probably make a very good argument for performing the Passion without an interval. But the Barbican seems to have something of a record for making audiences work hard. In Baroque Opera Seria performances it seems to be norm to have only 1 interval, running the other 2 acts together. This seems very unfair on audiences. I know that one issue is running time. A 3 act baroque opera can have up to 3 hours of music before you include intervals. And the management at the Barbican must feel obliged to have a weather eye on the finishing time. But if you've been at work all day, no matter how uplifting the music, 2 hours without a break can be a bit taxing.

So we will no doubt enjoy the concert, but I think we'd have enjoyed it more if there had been an interval to allow us to return to the second half relaxed and refreshed.

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