USC Thornton Opera Music Director Brent McMunn on Hans Werner Henze’s “The English Cat”

By Kat Bouza

This November, the USC Thornton School of Music will hold the West Coast premiere of The English Cat — the 1983 opera written by famed 20th-century composer Hans Werner Henze featuring a libretto by controversial British playwright, Edward Bond.

“It gets us all a little out of our box,” said USC Thornton Opera Music Director Brent McMunn of the opera. “I wanted to stretch myself and all of us and find something in my mind I was calling ‘high modernism’ — something from the second half of the 20th century, not one of the safe pieces.”

Based on a short story from Scenes of the Public and Private Lives of Animals by Honoré de Balzac, The English Cat explores class division through the eyes of a group of bourgeois cats who form the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Rats.

The English Cat has only been performed in this country at the Manhattan School of Music, at Santa Fe, and now USC,” said McMunn. “I’m hoping we can get the word out to the LA audience that this is really a chance to hear significant music.”

The English Cat runs from November 19 through November 23. For more information, please visit the USC Thornton event calendar.

TAGS: Classical Performance and Composition, Vocal Arts and Opera,

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