The new Un Ballo in Maschera production by Vilppu Kiljunen in the Finnish National Opera takes place in the world of reality TV, a truly brilliant idea. It's a practically seamless fit with its Lo Show di Ulrica, Ulrica Speziale Notte, Il Nido d'Amore, and the fabulously costumed and lit fancy dress ball and murder at the end, all before TV cameras.

(photo ©Magpie)

The reviews didn't fail to associate Riccardo, 'the media emperor,' with Silvio Berlusconi, for which the production gave ample cause. For me this was the most disturbing point, because to enjoy the drama it would have been essential to sympathize with Riccardo, and as it was, for most of the first act I couldn't help feeling that he'd only get his just deserts. At the end I was, however, almost prepared to admit that even the real life Berlusconi, with other potentially dangerous narcissist clowns like Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Ilya Glazunov, might be human beings with a right to exist.