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Artaserse3Do you ever wish you could give some stories (whether yours or otherwise) another life? Translate them to a different medium, make them visual, retell them the way you imagine them?

I do – all the time. Which is one of the reasons why I fell in love with The Idle Woman’s Artaserse graphic novel. I think I told you elsewhere about this wonderful blog about history, historical fiction, music, theatre and Baroque opera – but now Leander had done something even more wonderful. She has taken an opera – Leonardo Vinci and Pietro Metastasio’s Artaserse, and turned it into a graphic novel. She did it for fun and then shared the delightful result on her blog, in the hope that she might entice someone to try out the opera…*

With me, she certainly succeeded: while I’m not overly fond of Baroque opera (being more of a Puccini-late Verdi-Wagner-Britten-Tchaikovskij-Richard Strauss** sort of girl), I’ve been tracking down Artaserse clips through the Net since Sunday afternoon. And while I cannot say I’m converted, I certainly listened to music that, otherwise, I might never have touched with a barge pole. And anything that dances me out of my comfort zone – and does it this pleasantly – I do regard as a treat.

Artaserse2So: playing with a well-loved story, finding new ways of sharing it – and doing it all in a clever and very enjoyable way… Isn’t it perfect? That the story in question is a matter of friendship, loyalty, intrigue and love set in ancient Persia also doesn’t hurt. Enjoy the Idle Woman’s Artaserse – or at least, the first two acts – with the third and final one on its way.


* And I do understand a wee bit of missionary zeal: the things I do to lure people into reading Conrad’s Lord Jim, or Marlowe’s plays…

** No, I’m not expecting the list to make the least amount of sense – so there.