Editors’ Notes After more than 30 years of making excellent, sophisticated (and under-appreciated) pop music, brothers Ron and Russell Mael created a musical drama that aired on Swedish public radio in August 2009. In it the late Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman is lured into working in Hollywood, and falls victim to Tinseltown’s devotion to celebrity and meddling studio heads. (Not a bad conceit, you have to admit.) The music is stagey and theatrical as any opera, with all the clever flourishes one expects from Sparks, minus hooky pop constructs — strings, pianos and booming tympanis abound, as do typical Sparks rapid-fire lyrical witticisms. From Bergman’s introduction/monologue to his grappling with the Hollywood ethos (“method acting is ridiculous!”) and on to his ultimate liberation, the creative audacity of Europe’s favorite American pop band speaks clearly to the Continent’s appetite for intellectually nurturing entertainment. Until a touring theatrical production and/or a film results, American Sparks fans can listen to this (English-language) version, and dream. (The booklet lays out the story details, and outlines the 24 scenes of the drama.)

The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman