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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nyman's charming, charismatic new opera, 2 April 2006
This review is from: Man and Boy: Dada (Audio CD)
Michael Nyman's score for 'Man and Boy: Dada' - his best operas, and probably one of his best scores generally -- has much of the quirky charm, charisma, memorable melody, willful awkwardness, and other elements I think defined his best early works, though here it is stylized to fit post-WWII London and the constantly changing emotion landscape of the story through each scene. In fact, you might be surprised at how different in sounds from, for example, his other recent opera Facing Goya. It's more intimate, expressive, and character driven.

The story to quote the synopsis "...begins with an initial chance encounter between celebrated exiled German artist Kurt Schwitters and a young boy - Michael, in post war London. Both have a passion for collecting bus tickets, Schwitters as material for his collage artworks, and the boy as part of a passion for assembling collections in general. The opera tells the story of the friendship that develops between the artist, the boy and his mother."

The libretto by Michael Hastings is a rather brilliant as it explores the three main characters and their relationships with one another. The music, supporting this, emphasizes the characters as they grow to know each other -- constantly shifting in tone, from light and dark, joy and pain, playfulness and distress in order to contrast obsessive, idealistic, naïve youth against hard world realities (war, loss, poverty, illness, and old age). Nyman's score conveys this in remarkable ways with a modified Michael Nyman Band line-up which includes oboes, bassoons, and a lot of vibraphone in addition to the usual violins, cellos and saxophones. This makes for a Nyman Band sound that is more varied in texture than usual.
As with Philip Glass, Nyman can seem in a rut on some projects. However, mix things up for him and his writing comes alive in fascinating ways (same with Glass on the right project, it seems). Such is the case here.

All of the performers are marvelous. You really get to know and love each one, and you can understand what they are singing, which is important.

The recording is top notch, with a wonderfully packaged 2 discs with full book including libretto and notes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An acquired taste or what, I just loved it?!, 12 Sept. 2014
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Loman Hansi "Music is the Best" (Västerås, Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Man and Boy: Dada (Audio CD)
Mr Nyman has done it again. Need I say more.
You who found The man who mistook his for his hat will know what I'm writing.
So a big thank you Mr Nyman.
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Man and Boy: Dada
Man and Boy: Dada by Graham-Hall (Audio CD - 2007)
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