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Birtwistle's Punch and Judy

Andrew Shore as Punch Photo: ©Catherine Ashmore/ENO

Andrew Shore as Punch Photo: ©Catherine Ashmore/ENO

Conducted by Edward Gardner

Saturday 21 June 2008 18:30-20:30 (Radio 3)

Ivan Hewett presents a broadcast of English National Opera's critically acclaimed new production of Harrison Birtwistle's controversial modernist opera, Punch and Judy from London's Young Vic Theatre. Featuring baritone Andrew Shore and mezzo-soprano Lucy Schaufer in the title roles and conducted by Edward Gardner

At its premiere 40 years ago, Sir Harrison Birtwistle's first work for the stage was seen as grotesquely amoral. The evening begins as Mr Punch kills his baby, and follows him as he murders a succession of characters, while pursuing his dream girl, Pretty Polly. Despite the fact it grew out of the traditional seaside puppet show, the opera seemed the last word in shocking modernism. It is no less provocative today.

Duration:

2 hours

CAST & SYNOPSIS

Punch ...... Andrew Shore (baritone)
Judy/Fortune Teller ...... Lucy Schaufer (mezzo-soprano)
Pretty Polly/Witch ...... Gillian Keith (soprano)
Choregos/Jack Ketch ...... Ashley Holland (baritone)
Lawyer ...... Graham Clark (tenor)
Doctor ...... Graeme Broadbent (bass)

Orchestra of English National Opera
Edward Gardner (conductor)

SYNOPSIS
Mister Punch's roots are in the Bacchanalian celebrations of Ancient Greece, the facial masks and stock characters of the commedia dell'arte, the strings and vocal squeakers of French puppetry, and finally manifest in the wood, felt and glue glove-puppet of England's beloved Punch.

Harrison Birtwistle and Steven Pruslin's opera brings Punch back to flesh and blood.

His story is simple:

Punch murders his baby.

Punch murders his wife, Judy.

Punch murders the Doctor and Lawyer.

Punch murders the Choregos who narrates his show.

Punch's conscience finally catches up with him in a Nightmare.

But Punch always escapes Death. Even the Devil in disguise.

And so Punch marries the girl of his dreams, Pretty Polly, and lives happily ever after.

The End.

©English National Opera

CAST

Punch ...... Andrew Shore (baritone)
Judy/Fortune Teller ...... Lucy Schaufer (mezzo-soprano)
Pretty Polly/Witch ...... Gillian Keith (soprano)
Choregos/Jack Ketch ...... Ashley Holland (baritone)
Lawyer ...... Graham Clark (tenor)
Doctor ...... Graeme Broadbent (bass)

Orchestra of English National Opera
Edward Gardner (conductor)




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