Jan Fabre/Eugeniusz Knapik

A singer meticulously makes his way across a stage riddled with upright scissors, stuck into the floor; grabbing a pair, he hurls them into the air where they pass through a beam of light, sparkle briefly, and disappear.

Das Glas im kopf wird vom Glas, 1990, is the first part of a projected trilogy entitled The Minds of Helena Troubleyn, written and directed by Jan Fabre, with music by Eugeniusz Knapik. Indicative of the strengths and weaknesses of the production, the scene described above constitutes a stunning visual image, but the effect is spoiled when we realize that the singer will continue his laborious pacing about the stage until all of the nearly 100 pairs of scissors have been disposed of. Our original fascination turns to boredom as Fabre’s theatrical conceit becomes excruciatingly predictable.

Throughout the opera, Fabre reveals himself as a master of beginnings and conclusions.

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