May 3, 2005

Good, or is it bad, timing? . . .


The creative forces behind a new opera based on George Orwell‘s Nineteen Eighty-Four are finding they “did not have to work hard to make George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a loveless and brutal world resonate with audiences today,” says Mike Collet-White in a Reuters wire story. Conductor and composer Lorin Maazel says when he started working on the project in 2000 “he did not set out to create political theater.” “Five years ago no-one was really thinking in these terms. The theme has concurrently become very current and seemingly ever more relevant,” says Maazel, “. . . but that was really not our intention.” But now, with the opera set to premier in London tonight, “Technology used for surveillance and control, the denial of personal freedom, Doublethink, Newspeak and a seemingly endless war place a work written in 1948 firmly in the 21st Century.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives