Queen’s Composer Snubs Wedding

daviesgty_queen_elizabeth_maxwell_davies_jef_110321_mnKommilitonen-007Peter Maxwell Davies may be feeling miffed that he, the Queen’s official composer, has not been asked to compose music for next month’s royal wedding. Meanwhile, his new opera, “Kommilitonen!,” has received its London premiere and the Guardian’s critic raves. (Rupert Christiansen is more muted.) The opera, whose title roughly means “fellow students,” counterpoints the story of James Meredith, who in 1962 became the first black student to register at the University of Mississippi, with the chronicle of the Weisse Rose, a group of Munich students executed in 1943 for protesting against Nazi atrocities, and an incident from China’s cultural revolution when the children of an education minister were forced to denounce their parents. (Interesting that Davies, who is English, uses atrocities from the American, German, and Chinese empires but nothing from the British empire, which also had plenty of blood on its hands.) The opera will receive its American premiere in November at the Juilliard School in New York.

Leave a Comment