published 12.13.2018

Limelight Magazine's review of Greek

When Mark-Anthony Turnage’s viscerally pugnacious first opera hit the stage in 1988 it’s fair to say it ruffled a few feathers. A setting of Greek, Steven Berkoff’s f-bomb laden 1980 indictment of Thatcherism, Turnage’s incorporation of football chants and his percussive use of police truncheons on real riot shields announced the presence of a new angry young man on the block.

Thanks to a fine recording on Argo, those of us who missed the first run were quickly able to dive into this vulgar, witty, yet aggressively modernist score and recognise it for the miniature masterpiece that it is. Since then, its modest scale – a cast of four and orchestra of 20 – has perhaps worked against it. Too small for a sizeable opera house, contemporary opera companies often seek out newer or more local talent. Thankfully, Scottish Opera saw fit to give it a smart new staging last year, one which has wound up at BAM’s enterprisingly international Next Wave Festival, and with a first-rate cast and orchestra Greek is ready to provoke, entertain and offend all over again...

Read the full review here