What did 19th century artists Lewis Carol, Vincent Van Gogh and Edward Lear have in common?
And whilst many people at the time viewed this so-called affliction as a sign of demon possession, or a curse, in fact it is now thought to have been one of the key elements contributing to the wonderful creativity displayed by these artists.
Ode to Nonsense tells a 70 minute operatic tale of Edward Lear – artist, writer, traveller, epileptic and depressive – using a cast of three adults, 17 children and a chamber orchestra.
Much to his own chagrin, Lear could not sustain his early talents in painting birds and landscapes, but instead became famous for writing nonsense. Nonsense such as The Owl and The Pussycat, which contains my favourite line ever,
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
The opera was an absolute pleasure, not only because I learnt a lot about Lear and his story, but also because the singing, instrumentals, staging, lighting and costumes were simply stunning.
Catch it if you can.
[image of a pea-green boat thanks to B4bees]