Just got back from my trip to NYC, where I saw the Lincoln Center Festival premiere of the opera Grendal.
First of all, it was simply a one of a kind experience. Julie Taymor and Goldenthal really put something together like nothing I have ever seen before. Imagine if the movie Titus was an opera. You get that schizophrenic feeling, as they use all sorts of crazy stage tricks. The costumes are bizarre and creepy and beautiful all at the same time. You have parts of the opera in Old English along with Grendal telling someone to "F*#$ off!"
As for the music, it is glorious and quite complex. Throw in some Alien 3, with a dash of Interview with a Vampire, with a big helping of Titus, plus some of the more dissonant stuff from Final Fantasy and the soaring aspects of Sphere.
He keeps things challenging for the listener throughout the whole experience. No real hummable tunes are to be found here. However, you get a rather majestic (and rather Irish sounding) piece at the very end before Grendal's death (You see, Grendal welcomes his death).
If I had any complaints about it, it is if Goldenthal restrained himself from hitting the peak of his majestic writing. I kept feeling like, "Oh here it comes, this is going to blow me away like track 9 of final fantasy" but then the music backs away.
Not that there isn't some goose-bump moments in the opera. When Grendal unleashes his fury right before the close of the second Act, my jaw was on the floor.
The orchestra must have had a field day with this music. It seems quite challenging (I used to play trombone in high school and college, so I really appreciated what the bass trombone player was doing).
I'm not sure what the plans are for future performances or CD release, but I strongly recommend you all checking that out.
Plus, it was cool to see Taymor and Goldenthal come out on stage at the end.
NP: Superman Returns