|Opera Review: Kovantschina|
Issue #43 (March 1985)
Well folks, drive-in movies don't have the franchise on blood, perversion, and political lusts. If you've been missing all the fun 'cause you're a culture-vulture and wouldn't be caught dead parked in front of the good stuff, you've got a redeeming chance to catch it on your own turf. Yep. Grand Opera has it all. Take it from Joy Robb.
The show is Kovanschina -- a fancy word you'll only hear once in the whole four-hour production. All it means is that the Tsar (Big Boss to the rest of you bimbos) blames a rumored coup on a prince named Kovansky. Now, let's forget about all these crazy pre-commie names and get to the good stuff.
We get to see all kinds of conflict: father and son Kovanskys lust after the same unwilling girl, who escapes rape and murder from the younger and possible kidnap from the older. She lucks out through the intervention of a powerful religious fanatic. His people drift hopefully through the ugly times waiting for the world to end so they can all die in glory. One of the fanantic's followers is a has-been love of the younger Kovansky, and she complicates her life further by foretelling the imminent doom of a competing prince. He tries to get even by having her drowned. She escapes, only to be reviled by another member of her sect for loving Kovansky. Everything is grim until we get inside Kovansky's palace.
Kovansky's upset. He orders his singing maidens to perform. B-o-r-i-n-g! He calls in the Persian dancers. Now we get small reward for our patience. Hips and ass. Boobs and smiles. The dancers do their best to seduce him, hopping up on his bed and waving veils in his face. He still looks miserable, but we get some pretty good action. This is all for naught. He's murdered within minutes.
That about sums it up, folks. The religious sect goes to their martyrdom in a spectacular group immolation. We've had one attempted rape, two attempted and one successful murder, lots of forebodings, cursings, and intrigues. A few spangle-covered boobs. And not one scream from the burning martyrs. Joy Robb says check it out if you're looking for something completely different.