[First published on Snark [music] Notes on 5/01/2016]
PETER MAXWELL DAVIES: Resurrection
In Peter Maxwell’s Davies’s short avant-garde opera, Resurrection (1987), a mute child is indoctrinated by our evil modern society, with weird reprocussions.
A mute child, played by a larger-than-life-sized mannequin, is being indoctrinated by various authority figures, including family, teachers, a vicar and a doctor.
My, what a terrible world we do live in(!)
Intermittent ‘alchemical dances’, in which a rock band accompanies a cat who transforms into a dragon, represent the omnipresent commercialism (rock bands, television, advertisements etc.) that we are constantly bombarded with in the modern world.
“but I WANT a cat that can turn itself into a dragon while awesome rock music plays in the background…”
The action passes between the indoctrinating authority figures and the rock-band accompanied dragon-cat.
Still struggling to see how a dragon-cat with its own rock band is a bad thing…
Eventually, the mannequin-child’s head explodes.
Oh. Well, okay then. Apparently, the awesomness of such a concept is just too much for one mannequin-child to process.
(Although, I expect Peter Maxwell Davies wants you to believe the mannequin-child went insane due to being stretched too thinly between all the different ideologies that it is expected to follow… or something.)
The mannequin-child has been taken to an operating theatre to be cured of its ‘anti-social tendencies’.
I see what they did there – an opera set in an OPERAting theatre! Very good… please tell me this pun was the reason that this entire work even exists.
More stock characters attempt to fix the mannequin-child, including a capatilist, a trade-unionist, a rabbi, more Christian ministers, a politician and a gospel-preacher.
Tell me, Peter Maxwell Davies, is there anyone in a powerful role who you do trust? I mean, kudos for sticking it to the man and all but… evil indoctrinating trade-unionists?!
The new stock characters remove the mannequin-child’s brain, heart and genitals…
…and replace each with a sanitised, ‘safer’ substitute.
I don’t think I even WANT to know what those would be… Okay, Peter Maxwell Davies, you’ve made your point. Now I’m scared and I want to go home.
The unhappy, now-indoctrinated mannequin-child, having been forcefully stripped of all of its individuality, rebels and guns down the operators and the audience using a machine gun.
Not a REAL machine gun, obviously… It isn’t a real machine gun, is it, Peter Maxwell Davies? ‘Cause, I mean, I’m seriously a little concerned about your mental stability at this point.
The mannequin-child disappears…
Oh, good… I think?
…and in its place the Antichrist rises theatrically from a tomb amidst a flashing disco light show!
End of opera.
Moral of the story: modern day commercialism is a BAD THING.
BETTER MORAL OF THE STORY: avant-garde is weird.
…Now, where can I buy a dragon-cat?