CPH Post


Beware the devil women!

Miss Haversham couldn’t believe her luck – it was true what they said, Abel Magwitch was big down under (Photo: Martin Dam Kristensen)

December 6, 2013

by Mark Walker

One of the very first operas to be commissioned specifically for radio, The Old Maid and the Thief continues to be a beloved work among critics and enthusiasts alike. The libretto, which was initially in Italian and then translated into English before the premiere, and music were both written by Italian-American composer Gian Carlo Menotti – like Wagner, Menotti wrote his own libretti for all his operas. It originally broadcast on the American net-work NBC in 1939, after which Menotti adapted it for the stage in 1941 in Philadelphia. This will be the first time the opera has been produced by Det Kongelig Teater (the Royal Theatre), marking one of several co-productions between the Royal Theatre and the Copenhagen Opera Festival.

At just over an hour long, the opera is composed as a single act (with 14 scenes) and is concerned with the disquiet that exists between two women who live together: Laetitia (sung by Sofie Elkjær Jensen) and her employer Miss Todd (Elisabeth Halling). Their mutual contempt is brought bubbling to the surface when a mysterious male arrives at their door. Bob (Thomas Storm), a vagabond, reawakens the carnal yearnings of not only these two women but the neighbour too, a curtain-twitching gossip merchant by the name of Miss Pinkerton (Sine Bundgaard). All three women, craving the company of a man, pile on their affections, unawares that Bob, now subject to their womanly wiles, is in fact not what he appears. All of which gives rise to the famous quote: “The devil couldn’t do what a woman can: make a thief out of an honest man ...”

Rasmus Ask, a young director currently serving as the artistic director at Odense’s Momentum Theatre, stages this humourous production for a limited run in the more intimate space of Operean Takkeloftet, drawing his inspiration from a variety of contemporary pop-culture sources such as pulpy romance/erotica novels and TV series such as Desperate Housewives. Leife Greibe takes the reins for the musical direction, while a recent Norwe-gian graduate of the National Theatre Academy, Nathalie Mellbye, provides both the cos-tumes and set design.
Evening performances will offer a choice of themed cocktails to be purchased at the bar. You can enjoy an ‘Old Maid’, which will be based on gin and rose lemonade, or instead opt for a Thief, which is composed of dark rum and ginger ale ...

The Old Maid and the Thief
Operaen Takkelloftet, Ekvipagemestervej 10, Cph K; performances at 21:00 on Fri, Sat & Dec 14, at 15:00 on Dec 15; tickets 200kr, www.kglteater.dk; duration: 65 mins; sung in English, no subtitles

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