Drama with a Purpose
Jack Perla and Rajiv Josephâ€™s new work for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis,Â Shalimar the Clown,Â based on Salman Rushdieâ€™s novel, aims for the power of grand opera and the impact of contemporary relevance.
By Philip Kennicott â€¢ Illustration by Nigel Buchanan
WITHIN THE FIRST FEW PAGES of Salman Rushdieâ€™s 2005 novel, Shalimar the Clown, an elegant, elderly and cosmopolitan Jewish man is brutally murdered in the streets of Los Angeles. He is killed by his Muslim chauffeur, a man from Kashmir who has nursed a toxic combination of fanaticism, hate and revenge. The victimâ€™s daughter discovers her fatherâ€™s body moments after the execution: â€œHis throat had been slashed so violently that the weapon, one of his Sabatier kitchen knives, which had been dropped beside his corpse, had all but severed his head.â€ Continued…