Review: ‘Mata Hari,’ a Different Kind of Queen of the Night


One hundred years ago this October, the Dutch dancer, courtesan and German-paid secret agent known by her stage name, Mata Hari, was executed by a French firing squad. Many fictional adaptations have capitalized on both the prurient and the tragic aspects of her life, most recently Paulo Coelho’s 2016 novel, “The Spy,” which offers a hagiographic portrait of a heroine whose “only crime was to be an independent woman.”

On Thursday at Here, the Prototype festival presented the premiere of “Mata Hari,” an opera by the composer Matt Marks, with a libretto by Paul Peers, who also directed the show. Their tone is bracingly unsentimental, as is clear from the first swear words uttered by the chain-smoking nun who patrols the women’s prison where Mata Hari awaits her verdict.

Lês fierder by The New York Times

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