USC Thornton Opera’s Ken Cazan 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.

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 story is charming and is based in this Victorian fascination for the anthropormorphic,” explained USC Thornton Opera resident stage director and Vocal Arts and Opera Chair Ken Cazan. “I want the students to watch cats,  and I want them to watch cats’ attitudes and body parts. This is what Maestro McMunn and I really look for when we look for repertory here — does it service the students first, and does it really stretch the heck out of them from one end of the spectrum to the other.”

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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