Meirion Bowen writes: Peter Hall played a key role in rescuing the reputation as an opera composer of Sir Michael Tippett, dismissed and mocked in the 1950s as bafflingly over-complex and bizarrely eccentric. Hall’s direction of The Knot Garden in 1970 benefited above all from his experience as a director of Shakespearean drama, for this work was to a large extent a retelling of The Tempest. The Covent Garden production of this opera used miles of rope with imaginative lighting and film (by Tim O’Brien), contriving magical stage pictures for the constant metamorphoses in the action. Hall was in his element here, directing the game-playing of the seven characters.

Hall was to have directed Tippett’s next opera, The Ice Break, but had to withdraw after he accepted an invitation to run the National Theatre. He was also due to direct the Houston premiere of Tippett’s last opera, New Year, but arrived late for rehearsals, because of his involvement in an award-winning Tennessee Williams production in New York. He nevertheless gave the production a modern ambience. Its cartoon-style subtitles and jokey irreverences (“New Year’s Eve – y’all have a nice night”) were received rather snootily in Texas, but went down better when the production reached Glyndebourne (though some English critics were offended). Hall and Tippett hit it off as a theatrical partnership.

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Source: Opera News from the UK Guardian