Since today is Feb 14th and that means Valentine’s Day I thought I’d do something valentin-y. (Although I might as well can call me Queen of Being Single and that pretty much sums up what I think of Valentine’s Day)
But: Most pieces of musical theatre are full of love and drama and all that jazz. So why not write about my top 5 couples in musical theatre? This time they come in a “Top 5”-kind of order.
5) Penelope and Ulisse (Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, Monteverdi)
Okay, I have a soft spot for love stories that include one of them having been absent for quite some time. And I like the music. The only production of that I ever saw was the Komische Oper Berlin production (which in my opinion is the best of the three Monteverdi productions they’ve done two years ago) included one of my favourite baritones as Ulisse and he was amazing and it was so sad – and I mean how weird is it that you finally give in to marry some other guy and then a totaly new one comes a long, kills all of them and wants you to marry him and you don’t recognize him and then your maid has to tell you that he actually already is your husband? 😉 Nice story though.
4) Lucille and Leo Frank (Parade, Jason Robert Brown)
First of all, I love Parade‘s music anyway. Regardless the plot. And I’ve never seen a production of it nor read the script – so my judgement of the love story is only based on the music. But: This is not over yet is one of the most beautiful songs being primarily about something else but also expressing so much love I’ve ever heard. I love how in the beginning they seem to have their struggles and these are present throughout the music, but when Leo is imprisioned Lucille decides to stand up for him and do things. And: How sad is it that they somehow finally find their ‘real’ love and she makes the authorities to move him to another prison and then he suddenly gets killed? I mean…..really?
3) Diana and Dan Goodman (Next to Normal, Brian Yorkey/Tom Kitt)
This is a little weird. What we whitness when seeing/listening to Next to Normal is a marriage that already has last for almost 20 years, the birth of their first child kind of made them marry in the first place. Their child died and they – let’s be honest here – were stuck with each other. And now we see this disfunctional family with this ‘crazy’ mother, this ‘crazy’ daughter and – yes! – the ‘crazy’ father. Each in a very different way. But still Dan cares for her. He wants her to be good (maybe because that’s the reason he will be fine in the end, as long as he has her to care about he doesn’t have to face his own not-being-okay). All the way through the plot Dan seems to be the one doing so many things wrong. Making her undergo this ETC treatment, making her take the pills and in the end she leaves him to finally become ‘healthier’ again. And he is alone with his problems. In my opinion the ‘real’ love story with these two starts when the musical ends. Because….you never know, right?
2) Leonore & Florestan (Fidelio, Ludwig van Beethoven)
My love for Fidelio (or at least the 1805-version also known as Leonore) is pretty unconditional. I love the music, I love the Gender-aspect of it and the lovers’-duet “Namenlose Freude” in the end shows some kind of love that made her take all these ‘un-women-ishy’ things she has done during the opera. Of course this is not very emanzipated (a woman doing things only to be reunited with her man so they can be ‘complete’ again) – but we’re talking about 1805 – 1812, folks. And it’s a littly fluff. Although the almost three hours before “Namenlose Freude” are a little bit angsty and she’s confronted with so many things that she thinks she won’t be able to cope with and still she does. Go, Leonore!
1) Guy and Girl (Once, Enda Walsh)
Okay – this was the love story I totally cried my eyes out about when I saw it on Broadway last fall. They meet, they obviously fall in love with each other and she lets him go just because she thinks the ex-girlfriend is the best thing for him. She helps him getting out of a pretty dark place and not only lets hime go, but MAKES him go in the end. I mean how sad is that? And he – he totally accepts the way she doen’t seem to want to be with him and leaves. It’s just so sad. Let’s just read the saddest lines of the piece together, okay?
GUY: So what’s Czech for, “Do you still love him?”
GIRL: Ty ho este milujes?
GUY: So … Ty ho este milujes?
GIRL: Miluji tebe.
(We read “I love you” in the surtitles.)
GUY: What does that mean?
(She looks up above them)
GIRL: It looks like rain.
(Enda Walsh, Once, New York 2012)
I mean – really?
As you might have noticed I’m more a lover of complicated, not so typical lovestories (although I have the strong feeling that Francesca and Robert from The Bridges of Madison County will be on top of this list once I saw it…). After all that is what makes good stories, right?
So, my dear readers who have a valentine to spend today with, do so. I’ll spend it with work and after all that’s my valentine anyway. 🙂