Nico Muhly’s tale of Two Boys: don’t expect Facebook – the Opera

Tom Service in The Guardian:

ENO’s viral video advertising Nico Muhly‘s new opera is a kick-ass three minutes of social networking lampooning. However, it’s got zippity-squat to do with the work itself. Far from questioning “how odd your online life is”, Two Boys is a human drama of obsession, love, fantasy, identity and detective work. It’s also not really about “what could go wrong” online. This is a bit of a euphemism for being induced to masturbate on-cam for someone you think is a hot chick but who turns out to be a teenage boy, and then be forced through months of psychological manipulation to stab them.

The point is, the drama of Two Boys will be, or should be, profound and tragic, rather than merely critiquing the trivialities of friend-inculcation on Facebook, as the viral video, produced in collaboration with flyer-merchants Don’t Panic and starring Jolyon Rubinstein, makes out. At least that’s how it seemed to me watching rehearsals for the piece, looking at the score, and talking to the composer himself.

More here.