Like Flesh

Music by Sivan Elder, Libretto by Cordelia Lynn
Opera de Lille
Opera de Lille, France

Like Flesh Credit: Simon Gosselin/Mathilde Bivort
Like Flesh Credit: Simon Gosselin/Mathilde Bivort
Like Flesh Credit: Simon Gosselin/Mathilde Bivort

Sivan Eldar’s Like Flesh, a political chamber opera in one act directed by Sylvia Costa, designed by Augustin Muller and conducted by Maxime Pascal, was performed at Opera de Lille in 2022.

The opera is about our relationship with each other and an environment in ecological crisis.

In destroying forests, we are murdering the planet and already, this very hot minute, paying for our crimes against Nature.

A forester (William Dazeley) and his wife (Helena Rasker) have lived together for 40 years. It is an unhappy marriage. She does not like him spending his day axing trees. She falls in love with a young female student (Juliette Allen) and then, taking a leaf out of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, she transforms herself into a tree.

Ovid is updated to the 21st century. Eldar combines orchestral and electro-acoustic music. A chorus of six gives the Forest a voice and presence. The opera is occasionally musically and visually intriguing; but the libretto by Cordelia Lynn is pretentious and heavy going.

Like Flesh, according to a publicity note, which I read after I had seen the opera, evidently, “aims to explore gender ambiguous text reflecting a subtler spectrum of sexual identity and bringing the operatic love story to a contemporary and queerer generation.”

Well, I never!

Like Flesh can be viewed free on the OperaVision channel.

Reviewer: Robert Tanitch

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