The Makropulos Case

Programming / Opera

There are dramatic operas, from which one comes out collapsed and delighted.
Fantastic operas, where all the demons, monsters and gods are summoned on stage, there are also some.
Magic operas, there are still some.
Comic operas, where the spectator manages to laugh very sincerely and several times, there are many – even if comedy is not “chic” and does not have good press. But it has a large audience.

But operas with a detective tone are a rarity.
Okay – there is also fantasy in this opera, but it takes a while to realize it.

The Makropulos Case, a Leoš Janáček’s opera, is therefore a rarity.

It begins, like most detective stories, with a story of inheritance. A lawsuit has been dragging on for decades, the relationship is disputed, but who will get the money in the end? Who will get old Prus’ loot?

It would seem that the old man, in his youth, made a mistake – but yes – and cheated on his wife with a singer, a Mac Gregor. From the mistake a child was born – but the child must prove paternity.
The legitimate family is not happy – necessarily.

And then, curiously, an opera singer, named Emilia Marty, will help the young illegitimate and allow him to find the old man’s will that gives him all his empire.

The Makropulos Case – Leos Janacek – Opera North – Saturday 11th August 2012

But if it was easy…. still has to prove to the young man that he is indeed this famous heir.
And who enters the scene again? Always our Emilia – a good fairy? a charitable soul? a lover? – nothing of that.
Emilia will accept to help the young man against a service: the service seems childish: it is enough to help her to find in the papers an old manuscript without value – but written in ancient Greek.

As you can imagine, the story is going to get more complicated – and slowly but surely, we will realize that there are in the past of these families a whole bunch of girls who have one thing in common: their initials start with E.M. Here, just like Emilia Marty – curious Watson, let’s continue.

I won’t spoil the ending – you’ve already figured out that Emilia Marty is the central character of the play – that Makropulos begins with an M and that if you look hard enough, you’ll find a girl named Elina.

The strange thing is that Elina Makropulos was born in 1575 – well – that’s not credible.

But the result is an opera with a completely unexpected – and welcome – atmosphere, since the detective genre likes it when its spectators don’t understand anything anymore and end up being carried away.

A little find to keep in mind, then.

The trailer is nice – but of course it gives the solution, which the spectator normally understands only in the second part – at best.

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Featured Image : The Makropulos Case – by San Francisco Opera – Nadja Michael as Emilia Marty

4 Thoughts

    1. Oh my sister ❤ ! I hope that you are living a wonderful month – I know that it is the month of great piety and as I know you, I know that it must fill you with a wonderful, sweet and radiant joy ! Je t'embrasse ma soeur ❤


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