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Comedy is close to tragedy

The BBC is broadcasting Harrison Birtwistle’s new opera “The Minotaur” this weekend. Personally, I’m very pleased they’re doing this since it’s a tremendous work and the production was first rate. On the other hand, look at the schedule.

7:35 pm The Minotaur Part One: World premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s new opera from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. A ship bound for the island of Crete carries the innocents to their slaughter.
9:00 pm Have I Got a Bit More News for You A bit more of the satirical news quiz with Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, panellists Ian McMillan and Kate Silverton, and guest host Jeremy Clarkson.
9:40 pm The Minotaur Part Two: World premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s new opera from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Theseus confirms to Ariadne that he is determined to face the Minotaur.

The end of Part One is one of the most dramatic (and scary) scenes I’ve seen on stage in a while. So, either this is a brilliant piece of scheduling intended to play with tension and relief in drama or, um, it isn’t.

Grumbling aside, I’m just glad that there’s still some good public service broadcasting in this country.

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