40 Whacks

“Lizzie Borden took an axe…” goes the rhyme, and it’s almost like a grisly nursery tale. Though Lizzie was acquitted of killing her father and stepmother in 1892, she has passed into the popular imagination as a crazed murderess. Jack Beeson’s 1965 opera Lizzie Borden follows the folklore, as well as shifting a few other historical details for dramatic effect. A New York Times review likened it to “some American retelling of the archetypal Electra story,” with a score that “surges in waves of highly charged, heavily chromatic, at times atonal Expressionistic music [but with] touches of 19th-century Americana.” A one-act chamber version of the piece, premiered last fall by the Boston Lyric Opera, plays a one-night stand this weekend at Tanglewood.

July 31, Seiji Ozawa Hall, 297 West Street, Lenox, (888) 266-1200, bso.org.

Author: Chris Rohmann

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