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Mary Beard on Caligula Part Two: Was Caligula misunderstood?

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Published on May 14, 2012

'Britain's best-known classicist' Mary Beard, talks about the character of Caligula as ENO looks forward to the first UK staging of Glanert's opera.

About the production

When his adored sister's death awakes him to a realisation of life's essential absurdity, the Roman emperor Caligula embarks upon an orgy of sexual depravity and sadistic cruelty in an apparently insane attempt to free himself from the shackles of mortality and morality.

Based upon Albert Camus's existentialist response to the rise of Hitler and Stalin, but as topical as ever in the era of Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi, Detlev Glanert's 2006 opera -- 'perhaps the finest German opera of the 21st century' (Tempo) -- offers a disturbing insight into the self-destructive logic driving a decadent and dangerous dictatorship.

Audacious young Australian director Benedict Andrews highlights the timeliness of the opera's themes by setting his UK premiere production in a football stadium, the kind of vast public arena within which dictators habitually play out their political games.
Performances

May 25, 29, 31 & June 7, 9, 14 at 7.30pm
6 performances. Running time: 2hrs 30mins
Pre-performance talk: Tue May 29, 5.30-6.15pm, £5 / £2.50 concs

www.eno.org

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