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Louis Andriessen’s latest venture into musical theatre is a monodrama inspired by the diaries of Anaïs Nin. First published in the 1960s but covering the early 1930s, these diaries were noted for their sexual frankness. Andriessen decided to set passages from them in order to explore different types of love musically, culminating in Nin’s incestuous relationship with her father, the Cuban composer and pianist Joaquin. The character of Nin, compellingly sung and acted by the Italian soprano Cristina Zavalloni, occupies a chaise longue set in the middle of the eight musicians of the Nieuw Amsterdams Peil. Above them a screen shows clips of her lovers: Henry Miller, Antonin Artaud, René Allendy and her father. Andriessen’s attractive music captures the character of each in a thrilling score that ranges from German cabaret to modern minimalism. The piece lasts only 30 minutes, and so a surprisingly dull half-hour documentary about the writing of the work makes up the rest of the DVD.

Richard Fawkes Read the full review on Agora Classica

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