Written by Schnittke and Erofeyev
British Premiere English National Opera and Scottish Opera co-Production
"Life with an Idiot took up as much space in the news columns as the arts pages."
"A brilliantly idiosyncratic production that would be appreciated by a possibly even more by a theatre audience than an othodox opera audience... Jonathan Moore's wacky production is one moment verismo, the next sublimely surrealistic. Strictly a one-off, this show... Interested in theatre? Make this a must."
"In spite of the sound and fury of some rather snootily damning reviews in the British press my bet is that this opera will enter the repertoire. The opera is certainly helped by Jonathan Moore's excellent direction (which drew the accolade from Victor Erofeyev, Russian librettist and writer of the original short story, of being "the definitive production"). This is a production ENO and Scottish Opera can be justly proud of. The first night audience loved it, responding to many of the wilder moments with belly-laughs rarely heard in the Coliseum."
"Jonathan Moore's spirited production is a bit of a circus, an X-Rated comic-strip, an opera nasty, a porno cartoon. It's already a collector's item."
"Shock opera... Old-stagers would do well to steer clear of a forthcoming production at the ENO in London. 'Life with an Idiot' will have them reaching for the gin at the interval. It is so racy that the ENO has issued it's first warning over an opera's content in it's eight decades."
The Times Diary
"This thrilling new production. Jonathan Moore's roller-coaster presentation never flags for an instant."
"Jonathan Moore's production makes the work far easier to follow than in Amsterdam, and the staging is beautiful."
Paul Driver, Sunday Times
"Moore certainly exaggerates the coarseness and vulgarity of this already notorious piece but there are moments of hilarious burlesque... An evening of exuberant bad taste."
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times
"Theatrically bold and visually startling. The audience kept their loudest cheers for Moore. Huge dramatic risks had been taken in the thrilling, unconventional, entertaining impact of the whole. There is humour encroaching to within an inch of horror. Moore balances it brilliantly knowing when to allow absurdity to run wild and when to tighten the leash... A brilliant and accessible production that is, in opera terms, very European and totally un-British - a fact that might enrage the black-tie brigade, but should delight those who open themselves to the true potential of art."
Alan Morrison, The List
"Jonathan Moore's British premiere production (a collaboration with Scottish Opera), using David Blight's designs and lit by Paule Constable, makes the difficult work far easier to follow than in Amsterdam. Theatrical trenchancy is favoured over functional anarchy, and the staging is often beautiful as well as clear, but this lucidity entails no clearing up of the opera's raw emotional messes."
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 9th April 1995
"... my bet is that this opera will enter the general repertoire, for the simple reason that it contains some wonderful music, and is that rara avis, a modern comic opera that is really funny, and not just cringe-makingly arch.
The opera is certainly helped in this direction by Jonathan Moore's excellent (which drew the accolade from Victor Erofeyev, librettist and writer of the original short story, of being 'The definitive production').
This is a production ENO, and its co-producer, Scottish opera, canhe justly proud of. The first-night audience loved it, responding to many of the wilder moments with belly-laughs rarely heard in the Coliseum."
Opera Now - June 1995
"I have nothing but praise for Scottish Opera for reducing its ticket prices, but it is a sad reflection on its regulars, who stayed away from one of the most exciting, innovative and spectacular productions they have ever been offered.
Schnittke's Life with an Idiot does not have pretty tunes, sparkly frocks or grandiose heroic characters. But it does have a hugely inventive and witty score, wonderful visual effects, terrific acting, stunning singing and contemporary themes of political naivete and sexual depravity. What, one asks, is the audience afraid of?
Jonathan Moore's original direction is absolutely enchanting, thoroughly Russian yet with stinging resonances for a Western audience."