Los Angeles Times – Want the West Coast’s best in opera? You have to go to Europe
“We’ve been long overdue for a major “Frankenstein” opera, and this futuristic version filled the bill. A fossil of the monster is found trapped in ice and brought back to life. Thanks to the ability to materialize the monster’s memories, the creature is still capable of wreaking havoc, and the opera becomes a gripping metaphor for the intersection of machine and humanity.
Grey’s use of electronics aurally modernized the old opera house, and his warmly modernist score compassionately accentuated Topi Lehtipuu’s frightening portrayal of a monster discovering the meaning of emotions. This “Frankenstein” illumines the ultimate “outcast”…”
Financial Times – Review
“A visceral roar fills the theatre as the curtain rises. The floor shakes; you feel it in the pit of your stomach. White-clad figures descend on ropes into a vast, icy cavern. Clouds of dry ice gush into the auditorium as a tubular machine, lights flashing, plunges into the abyss, only to rise again, bearing a naked body.”
“It forces us to reflect a Frankenstein 2.0 which is narratively appealing, musically fascinating, easy to follow but intelligent, perhaps with the aim of bringing new audiences to opera without traumatizing or displeasing the old…If we want opera to still be vital in a few centuries, alongside the preservation of the tradition, we need to courageously launch completely new creations such as this Frankenstein, works which bring the sensibility of musical and narrative time, and in places and contexts which allow access to a wider number of spectators.”
“Text and music go hand in hand… Júlia Canosa i Serra takes from Mary Shelley’s novel for the libretto, enriching it with new lyrics. The futuristic embedding replaces the epistolary framework. The transhumant dystopia meets the past recounted in retrospective video projections, which, in its cinematic theatrical abundance, impressively takes you into the forest and snowy landscapes.”
“His opera (Mark Grey’s), which launches an aesthetic dice to the public, is a digest of the history of electronic music, often filling the big gap between tradition and avant-garde while maintaining a tonal universe, with superb vocal lines…Through successive flash-backs, the story of Frankenstein rewinds on stage by snatching the memories of the creature (Grand cousu). And this fiction within fiction… is such an artistic UFO that one can wonder if it belongs to the genre “opera”. The site Operawire ranks it among the top ten operas in 2019.”
“As contemporary as it is, Mark Grey’s music is never hermetic. It emerges an undeniable power in phase with the story…It sticks to the plot, is strong and sometimes dazzling. Composed in parallel with the work of the other “creators” of this updated Frankenstein, the score envelops everything in osmosis with the libretto and the scenography”.
“A wonderful multidisciplinary production, where technique, handled with dexterity, combined with the artistic know-how, leads to an increase of perceptions and sensations. Not to be missed”.
“Rhythm breaks invoke gigantic effects, piercing the melodic heart into thriller projections. Mark Grey writes in musical strata, arranged to the point, soliciting ingenious colors and sensible moods: the very subject creation of the opera, it delivers its facets without exhaustion of resources. Innovation can be found on the set, both in Júlia Canosa’s libretto and in Àlex Ollé’s consistent staging.”
“A new successful Opera, enjoyable from the profane of the work as from the most astute enthusiast, which gives an emotional crescendo, both from a sonic and visual point of view, which fascinates and at the end conquers without exception placing many questions, always current, on the relationship between Creator and Creature, on the acceptance of the Different, between Machine and Man, on the benefits but also on the risks that any experimentation can involve”.
“With ‘Frankenstein’, premiered on Friday at La Monnaie / De Munt in Brussels, the stage director Àlex Ollé – La Fura dels Baus -, the composer Mark Gray and the librettist Júlia Canosa have created a subgenre, the ‘sci-fi “opera”, because here the plot is born of futuristic fiction and is not an adaptation of a repertoire opera, the proposal surprises and excites, with an impressive visual apparatus and a top stage direction”.
“The opera is as vital as its subject, mystical and reflexive: it puts on stage and in the music the question of the modern creation”.
“Frankenstein is one of those works which demands to take a step back, and while its philosophical and abstract side may still scare an unaccustomed audience, Frankenstein is in any case the kind of approach opera needs.”
“Júlia Canosa’s libretto is excellent, combining dramatic progression and vocality while opening up a thousand scenic possibilities”.
“We found that Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner were not at light years away, when Grey put down his impressive score…Well, making your own opera, that’s what Gray and Ollé have done. With impressive results. Chapeau!”
“Another critical collaboration is playwright Júlia Canosa i Serra, who has concocted a highly successful libretto, a fairly free adaptation of Mary Shelley’s famous novel that has inspired many others, particularly in the cinema”.
“Frankenstein in De Munt an impressive contemporary opera grown from intense teamwork” – Klara.be
“Composer Mark Gray is not an iconoclast but a great craftsman who gives us a score with many references to 20th-century examples such as Britten, Adams or Bernstein. Electro-acoustic effects get one important part in this opera and provide an enrichment to the score”.