Opera Post-Funny in Poland

If some Romantic operas are funny (e.g., Wagner's Die Meistersinger), can some post-Romantic operas be called post-funny? That was the question raised last week by the newest work of Poland's Krzysztof Penderecki, 57, a leading European composer who has increasingly been changing the gardes, from avant to rear. UBU REX, which opened the Munich Opera Festival, is based on the 1896 play Ubu roi, by French Absurdist Alfred Jarry, about a loathsome clod (read: typical bourgeois) who murders the King of Poland and, supplanting him, ruins the country. Yet even with the events of the past two years before him, Penderecki...

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