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date: 18 November 2019

One Man Showlocked

  • Noël Goodwin

Extract

Comic opera in two acts by Nicholas Maw to a libretto by Arthur Jacobs after Saki’s story ‘The Background’ (Chronicles of Love); London, Jeannetta Cochrane Theatre, 12 November 1964.

A man’s tattooed back is pronounced a valuable work of art, and is bought – with the man, Joe (baritone) – by a fashionable art collector, Maggie Dempster (mezzo-soprano), who develops more than artistic admiration for her purchase, but who is resisted. Sold to the ‘British State Gallery’, the design (in fact, the man’s name inverted) is read correctly by the gallery director, Sir Horace Stringfellow (tenor), who likes to stand on his head for the sake of his health. The opera is notable for its sprightly and lyrical word-setting, though it is possibly of more taste than character. Commissioned for the opening of the Jeannetta Cochrane Theatre at the Central School of Art and Design, Holborn, it was produced again at Morley College in ...

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