How opera became distanced, in some minds, from some of the juiciest tales of all time is a subject that would make a very fine opera in itself. "Opera's Opera" would be riddled with peaks, valleys, a few excellent villains, a lot of people bickering/loving, and songs of what went wrong -- and right.
For the old and epic form has been laced-up and be-doily'd for too long, according to some contemporary could-be fans, when, in actuality, an opera can deliver a host of sordid pleasures, woe-is-me drama, and some heavy delusion, destruction, and terrifying twists that'll give any art house film a run.
Look to "Bluebeard's Castle," a one-act fantasy that is forbidding and foreboding, both, the perfect dastardly treat to open just ahead of Halloween at the LA Opera. It's paired with "Dido & Aeneas," which deals with a royal heartache, old enemies, and sorcery.
No perfume-scented doilies or overly posh doings here, no sirree.
One could view this operatic event as cultural counterprogramming to a lot of the Halloween-themed to-dos out there, but be warned/intrigued: The stories go to devious, soul-pinching places, where there are no plastic smiling pumpkins.
The pair of "one-act masterpieces" debut at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Saturday, Oct. 25. They'll run into early November, for six nights in all. Barrie Kosky, the director behind the ferociously fizzy "The Magic Flute" -- the one that recently revved up the Pavilion in the style of a silent film -- is at the helm.
Meaning this: You won't be on the edge of your seat as much as you'll forget you're in a seat.
And if you're now scratching your chin, in the way that people do when they ponder, wondering if "Bluebeard's Castle" is the scary story of a husband, his new wife, and the sinister secrets behind the locked doors in his home, ponder no more: It's the very one. So you get we weren't pulling legs about the whole forgetting-you're-in-a-seat business.
Scary stuff, very much devoid of plastic pumpkins but not chills/stomach pits/general delightful dread.