Thursday 26 February 2015

'Too bawdy for a family audience'

The Dancing Master / I pazzi per progetto
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama has come up with an intriguing double bill of operas for the forthcoming programme from the Opera Department. The first full staging of Malcolm Arnold's The Dancing Master is paired with Donizetti's  I pazzi per progetto. The two operas are directed by Martin Lloyd-Evans, and conducted by the school's head of opera Dominic Wheeler. The double bill opens on 2 March 2015 at the Guildhall School, and runs until 9 March 2015. 

Arnold's The Dancing Master was composed in 1952. It has a libretto by Joe Mendoza based on Wycherley's bawdy Restoration comedy The Gentleman Dancing Master. Written with wit and flamboyance, the work was turned down by BBC executives as being 'too bawdy for a family audience'. The opera was first performed semi-staged as part of the 2012 Malcolm Arnold Festival in Northampton.

Donizetti's one-act farce I pazzi progetto (Madmen by Design) is almost as neglected. Premiered in Naples in 1830, continued to be performed until 1845 and then lay ignored until 1977. It is receiving its UK stage performance.

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