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Manchester International Festival: Il Tempo Del Postino

As the festival enters its final weekend, I thought I’d squeeze in a few more events. Last night: Il Tempo Del Postino – A Group Show at the Opera House.

This featured 15 renowned visual artists (who I’d never heard of) each giving an installation lasting up to 15 minutes long. Some lasted just a few minutes – a couple of creatures going through the mating process, for example – while others seemed to go on forever.

As was always going to be the case, this was a very hit-and-miss show. The musical performances, like a chamber orchestra who, one-by-one, left the stage mid-performance, Anri Sala’s remarkable 4 Butterflies, and an inevitable ode to Joy Division (Love will tear us apart sung a capella in absolute darkness), worked very well.

The Royal Northern College of Music provided the musical accompaniment and seemed to enjoy their role – at times being the main focus. I hear they got paid a pitiful amount, but hopefully they found it a fun experience.

The event’s finale, for those who haven’t already heard, was the most depraved thing I’ve seen on stage. Jonathan Bepler and Matthew Barney’s double-length performance involved a dog for a hat, naked women doing things unmentionable and an attempt to make a bull mate with a car. You had to be there.

All in all, a great piece of entertainment – and I’m amazed at how many empty seats there were, particularly during the finale. I noticed Mikhail Rudy from The Pianist had rushed across and was enjoying the show – and so too did I.

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But, why did you enjoy it?
What was there that was actually memorable, artistic – or new?
Why did the chamber orchestra leaving one by one strike you as pleasing? Have you never simply played with music before, or listened to one part whilst ignoring the rest?
It was simply a shambles. All credit to the RNCM, as they did a superb job – but apart from the talented musicians and the Madam Butterfly singers themselves; there was absolute no talent, or indeed ‘art’ on show. I’m afraid the whole thing was simply a waste of money, time and resources.
If you call your best friends ‘darling’ then maybe you can pretend this was a simply splendid affair; but the rest of us can the emperor’s clothes for what they are.

Novelty? And some of it was actually fun to watch.

It’s all personal taste and mood, isn’t it?


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