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Blooms of Dublin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blooms of Dublin
First edition (publ. Hutchinson)
Written byAnthony Burgess

Blooms of Dublin is a musical play or operetta in two acts with music and text by Anthony Burgess. The work, nearly three hours long, was first performed (in a concert version) for the Dublin Joyce Centenary in 1982 by the RTE Singers and RTE Concert Orchestra and broadcast on BBC and RTE radio.[1] It was produced by John Tydeman and Michael Heffernan. [2]

The operetta is based on James Joyce's 1922 novel Ulysses.[3][4] It was published in book form in 1986.[5] The texts of some of the songs also appear in the novels Earthly Powers (1980) and The End of World News (1982).

Burgess provides a very free interpretation of Joyce’s text, with his own changes and interpolations, all set to original music that blends opera with Gilbert and Sullivan and music hall styles.[6] The number “Copulation without population” in Act Two is an example – it’s set in the style of a humorous, bawdy music hall romp and features a chorus of drunks and prostitutes - but it has little to do with the corresponding passage from Ulysses.[7] Burgess said that his aim was to make Ulysses more accessible. “The score is, I think, the kind of thing Joyce might have envisaged…he was the great master of the ordinary, and my music is ordinary enough. I had felt for some time that he might have had demotic musicals in mind ….”.[8]

The piece received mixed reviews. Hans Keller called it "a pathetic pastiche" in which "senseless tonal and rhythmic antics...take the place of even the most elementary invention."[9] Aside from one repeat broadcast in 1983 it has not been revived, and has never been staged. [10] A BBC archived recording exists.

Other works that Burgess wrote or adapted as stage musicals include A Clockwork Orange: A Play with Music (1987) and (with music by Michael J. Lewis) Cyrano, a new musical which ran for 49 performances on Broadway in May 1973.[11][12]


This page was last edited on 22 March 2021, at 16:43
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