Friday, April 8, 2011

Anaïs Nin's Sex With Father Gets Theatrical

Louis Andriessen's new theatrical production about Anaïs Nin gets a look by Marshall Marcus in the larger context of the erotic in music and theatre.

Wagner's Die Walküre goes still further. It opens with a violent storm in which siblings born of an adulterous relationship meet, fall in love, and eventually bear a child together. There is almost nothing normal about the implied sexual relationships of any of the characters within the opera.


Which brings us to Louis Andriessen's Anaïs Nin, which the London Sinfonietta perform at its UK premiere next week. Andriessen, the Netherlands' greatest living composer, has been an astute chronicler of society since he burst onto the scene in the 1970s with his spectacular tour de force about Plato's Republic, De Staat. In Anaïs Nin – a 30-minute monodrama for singer-actress, film and ensemble – he explores the writings of the famous diarist of sexual liaisons in 1930s Paris, focussing on her incestuous relationship with her composer father. The role of Anaïs Nin was written for Andriessen's muse, the Italian singer, dancer and actor, Christiana Zavalloni. So does Andriessen feel himself to be part of a tradition of erotic writing?


And how did he feel about working with a taboo subject such as incest? "Well, I don't call it a taboo subject. Like other subjects of sexual morality, I don't have much of a moral standpoint about it, but it's a controversial subject certainly."

It sounds like it could be quite the show. If you go, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

UPDATE: Here's a review.
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