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date: 17 October 2019

Alden, David locked

  • Patrick O’Connor

Extract

(b New York, NY, Sept 16, 1949). American opera producer, twin brother of Christopher Alden.

His early productions in America in the late 1970s were well received but gave no hint of the Brechtian, often violent bent that later characterized his stagings in Europe. His staging of Wozzeck first at the Metropolitan in 1980 and then at the Scottish Opera later that year was favorably noted by Opera magazine, reversing the disdain that had greeted his Rigoletto for the same company in 1979. A punk version of The Rake’s Progress (1982, Amsterdam) led to a notorious Mazepa (1984), his first work for the English National Opera, which with its chainsaws and strip lighting entered local operatic folklore as an extreme of director’s folly. This established his reputation, however, and his ENO Simon Boccanegra (1987) and Un ballo in maschera (1989), both designed by David Fielding, were seen to create a new house style that, though controversial and alienating, was both musical and dramatically stimulating. Alden has staged the American premières of Szymanowski’s ...

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