Music: Gatta-Dammerung

Baring his heart, the tenor sang, "Laga baba lagaga banuna." Moved, the soprano tenderly replied, "O gaga o gaga." Her expression of love reduced the tenor to turtledove coos: "Oc curru curru curru curru curru."

This exchange, accompanied by a long-winded, brassy orchestra with lots of percussion and no fiddles, was sung last week on a Berlin stage. Abstract Opera No. 1 was the work of two leading German composer-librettists, Boris Blacher. (Romeo and Juliet, Prussian Fairytale) and Werner Egk (Columbus, Irish Legend). The work was produced with deadpan literalness and conducted by...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!