. . . or if you just want a unique theatrical experience. I saw The Second Violinist at the Dublin Theatre Festival last year, and it was the stand-out production of the festival in my opinion. And now it’s available to watch online!
It’s Enda Walsh (playwright and now librettist) and Donnacha Dennehy (composer)‘s second opera together. Their first opera, The Last Hotel, was about assisted suicide. So fair warning, they do not pick light topics, and it is unsettling.
It’s not exactly an easy watch or listen, but coming out of the theatre both myself and my watching partner’s main reaction was “. . . wow . . . um. . . . Wow.” And then spending the next hour or so dissecting it over booze to come down from feeling gut punched.
This opera is also contemporary with a contemporary setting (main character plays a ninja game on his phone while on the bus at one point), but it’s worth knowing a little bit about the Renaissance composer and murderer Carlo Gesualdo as the main character’s obsession with him is thematically central. The main body of the programme notes was a potted biography of Gesualdo, with no synopsis of the plot. (I don’t think I could give a plot synopsis either though.)
I’ve been listening to Gesualdo since seeing this as well as more Donnacha Dennehy.
Here’s a composer note...
There’s also a short synopsis at the link, but I’m not sure it would help reading beforehand.