‘Rule Britannia’ in Fürth

No, not me – I’m not a match for Constance Shacklock, at least not in voice. But it seems that the Pocket Opera Company is putting on the masque about King Alfred by Thomas Arne in which Rule, Britannia! was first heard at Schloss Burgfarrnbach. Apparently it was first performed at the country home of the then Prince of Wales, who then died before his father and never became king (goodness, let’s not conjure anything up).

Frederick, a German prince who had grown up in Hanover, arrived in Britain as an adult and was on very bad terms with his father. He made considerable efforts to ingratiate himself and build a following among his subjects-to-be (although he never ultimately reigned, as he died before his father in 1751 and never became king). A masque linking the prince with both the ancient hero-king Alfred the Great’s victories over the Vikings, together with the contemporary issue of building British sea-power, went well with his political plans and aspirations.

Superficially this sounds like fun. I did enjoy the Pocket Opera Company’s baroque opera night in 2005 (earlier entry).

Here’s the blurb: German English. This begins to be worrying: the title has become ‘The Mystery of the Monastery’ and we learn that many British people still revere Alfred and regard him as their patron saint. Those are the millions I have yet to meet.

The Pocket Opera Company launches, with a new adaptation and British humour, this exciting overlooked Opera, that not only has rediscovered the incredible music of this British composer but also awakens the cloudy world of Britain. An opera about the mystery and enigma of Britain, about drinks that disturb the senses, that flow into the olfactory perceptions of the protagonists.

A positive review in the local press is also a worrying sign:

Heinrich VIII. ist dabei, leider hat er den Henker im Schlepptau, was nicht allen seinen Ehefrauen bekommt. Endlos-Queen Victoria tritt auf und natürlich die unermüdliche Elizabeth unserer Tage. Und, nein, wir müssen nicht auf lovely Diana und sweet Kate verzichten, denen eigentlich nur ein hinreißend kauziger Prinz Philip den Rang ablaufen kann.

Regisseur Tilman Hecker hat dafür ein wunderbar schlichtes und klug reduziertes Konzept entwickelt. Jeder Schritt scheint durchdacht und öffnet den Blick auf ein Heer von Anspielungen.

Elsewhere (Cool Britannia!) you can see a photo of the castle at night and read (in German) about all the special British foods that will be available before the performance. There is also reference to a murder in the drawing room, Paddington Bear, British TV series and big bands, and an exhibition showing many surprising connections between Great Britain and Fürth. All this is in the honour of the coming London Olympics.

Mit britischem Humor entführen wir Sie in unserer Opernproduktion in die Geheimnisse und nebulösen Rätsel Britanniens, lösen einen kniffligen Mordfall im Salon, begleiten Paddington Bär zu seinem ersten Konzert, hören die Musik britischer Kultserien und knüpfen an die große Tradition britischer Big Bands, Blechbläser und A-Capella-Popgruppen an. Unsere Ausstellung „British Connection“ zeigt vielfältige und überraschende Verbindungen zwischen Fürth und Großbritannien.

Under Gastronomie:

Das Team von ROSEGARDENS zeigt, was alles aus Rosen gezaubert werden kann: Rosenblüten-Secco, Rosenmarmeladen, Rosensalate, Rosen-Mascarpone-Quark, Lachshäppchen mit Senfrosen u.s.w. Leckere Cookies & Pies und original englische Booja Booja Eiscreme kitzeln den Gaumen.

Düfte und Körperpflegeprodukte altenglischer Königshauslieferanten, ausgefallene Accessoires und ein Bobby-Deckenverleih für kalte Sommerabende runden das Sortiment ab.

PERMANENT SCOTTISH PROMOTION und die Schottland-Expertin EVI STENZ werden Sie mit „Warmups“ wie Roastbeef, Guiness Gulasch, Cockey Leakey Soup, Scotch Eggs, Wildpastete, Scottish Trifle, Scones & Clotted Cream u.s.w. verwöhnen. Dazu serviert sie schottische Malt Whiskies und ihren lizensierten Whiskypunsch und Cocktailmix aus der „Edition Lord Calvert“.

Someone should tell them the difference between leeky and leaky. Booja Booja ice cream is apparently organic, but Google says its website may download malicious software.

I can see what is going on here. The music may be good, but it will be a nugget enclosed in a very large rock. No wonder it lasts four hours. It’s not clear how an Agatha-Christie-style murder mystery could fit into Arne’s masque. There’s some director in Nuremberg who mucks up operettas like this. I think I’ll have to leave this enjoyment to the locals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.