Gerald Barry’s hour-long surreal opera Alice’s Adventures under Ground was composed in 2016. The world premiere concert performance took place in LA and a week later in London (KL 98:39). In 2020, a fully staged production took place at the The Barbican Centre, a co-production of the Irish National Opera and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden (KL 104:54), which is viewable on YouTube.
The opera is actually a blend of Wonderland and Looking-Glass, described by Joe Cadagin in Opera News (April 2022) as “… the most curious yet … zipping along at the pace of a cartoon on fast-forward … bizarrely constructed from vocal warmups and pedagogical exercises … gymnastics … a manic collage of Victorian bric-a-brac … excessive, idiotic, immature, and in bad taste—but brilliantly so!” He calls it “an ideal musical match for Carroll” (Joe was the Knight Letter 98 reviewer as well).
In 2016, data visualizer Nicholas Rougeux extracted everything but the punctuation in Wonderland and made a fine poster thereof. Now Clive Thompson has created similar software that extracts only the questions from a literary work (or anything else). Cut’n’paste in a digital copy of Wonderland (or any other book) into his tool and see what results! Wonderland contains 210 questions, from “Yet what can one poor voice avail / Against three tongues together?” to “Who cares for you?”
Of literary or scholastic use? Questionable. (heh)
Canadian artist Oleg Lipchenko has very generously decided to auction off his Carrollian work, books and original art, in support of his native Ukraine. The auction is LIVE. You can see his presentation on YouTube or go to his Facebook page or Instagram or his site.
Disney Junior will be presenting an animated comedy series called Alice’s Wonderland Bakery, premiering on Disney+ beginning on February 9. It features the granddaughter of the original Alice, who has opened a magical bakery to serve the descendants of other Wonderland characters. For wee bairns.
The 2-hour 1970 ORTF (Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française) production, described in The Annotated Alice 150 as a “burlesque with stunning visual and auditory overlay” has recently been found on YouTube by Adriana Peliano, to whom we give thanks. With English subtitles. Nine-year-old Marie-Véronique Maurin stars as Alice.
Adriana says she loves it, calling it “not impeccable but very creative,” and goes on to say that it was “directed by the provocateur Jean-Christophe Averty, a purveyor of French video art and director of experimental films such as Ubu Roi (1965) and Salvador Dali: A Soft Self-Portrait (1970). It features a moving collage of live action, animation, graphic design, and puppetry, creating psychedelic kaleidoscopes. The color palette is also original, clashing with iconic references. This Wonderland is more challenging and bewildering than most Alice movies, and at the same time the Alice character is less naïve than usual. Instead, she is often angry and moody, defying the disturbing characters and obstacles she encounters, including discussions with herself as a double. Averty’s Alice may not be wonderful—it has technical and aesthetic limitations that make it dated—but it is curious and stands out for its alicedelic daring creativity.”
We all remember the legendary photographer’s fashion spread using Wonderland imagery for the December 2003 Vogue. Her new book, Wonderland, a collection of her fashion photography, will be released by Phaidon on November 17, and not only includes that spread, but the book “was built on it,” according to a review in the New York Times.
The above article pretty much says everything else we know thus far, and includes the quote, “The book also reawakened memories of [Liebovitz’s partner Susan] Sontag. Leibovitz reminisced about the time Sontag read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to her. ‘We had blankets under a tree’ she said. ‘It was such a beautiful day, and Susan had such a wonderful voice.’”
Quick: what, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, is the fastest-growing constructed language in the world? Esperanto? Elvish? No, Klingon!
Klingon translations of works of world literature have been published, among which are The Epic of Gilgamesh, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Tao Te Ching, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and The Little Prince.
And now, at long last, Lieven L. Litaer has translated Wonderland into Klingon, QelIS boqHarmey, and even provided a back-translation into English, along with an appendix about the process.
The “Alice in Wonderland”–themed cover of the September 18–24 issue of The Economist led to an article investigating the weird world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrencies, and blockchains. On October 26th the auction of an NFT of that cover raised 99.9 ether, equivalent to nearly $422,000! It will be donated to The Economist Educational Foundation, an independent charity that teaches young people to analyze current affairs.
Our sister society in the Netherlands, the Lewis Carroll Genootschap, will be producing a facsimile of the first Dutch Alice, Lize’s Avonturen in het Wonderland, in 300 numbered copies, bound with dust jacket (72 pages), with essays in English and Dutch. It can be ordered here (€40 +€20 postage to the U.S.), but won’t be mailed until after the launch on October 29 (below). Reserve your copy today!
The book came out in 1875 in a truly stunning edition printed with chromolithography (up to a dozen layers of color printing, impossible to duplicate today). It was seriously abridged (20 pages), but we celebrate this facsimile, as there are only a very few known complete copies in the world. This was, after all, the very first Alice published in full color anywhere!