Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Anthony Minghella and Morse

Most serious TV watchers Tivo to control their video destiny. I much prefer the chance of coming upon something. I don’t need to control every facet of my life—I like letting the universe have some sway.

By chance I surfed over Channel 13 running a completely random Inspector Morse episode the other night. It is an exquisite series: Oxford as character; decent mystery plotting; unabashed use of classical music, from Morse's opera CDs to the strong incidental music. I hadn't seen a Morse since it first ran, and I was instantly attracted, again, by the bold, unsettled, disorienting narrative snippets that begin the episodes, in between the black credit slates. On this slate (for “Deceived by Flight”) was "written by Anthony Minghella." I did not know this. It’s those layers of discovery, as you move through experience and connect your world, that has always made TV an interactive medium for me.

Morse. Devoted opera aficionado. Minghella. I am squarely in the “Bravo” camp for Minghella’s staging of Madama Butterfly this season at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in a production he first staged in London. All of his stunning, bold visual effects serve the story and transform the hallowed art form for a 21-century visual sensibility. Steed remarked, mid sips of a Louis Roederer 1999 Cristal Brut after Act 1, that the story had never been as cogent as it was that night. I quite agree.

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