Sunday, October 12, 2008

Three major features on new opera

On Sunday 12 October, The New York Times “Arts & Leisure” featured Anthony Tommasini’s “New Opera? Great Idea. Good Luck!” Inspired by a student’s question (“A thoughtful student asked me why I dislike most new operas”), the writer discusses the perceived failings of Howard Shore’s The Fly and Stewart Wallace’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter (based on a novel by Amy Tan). Drawing apt comparisons with Wagner’s Ring, Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, and Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater (2006), Tommasini gives us a fine overview of two of this season’s premieres.

Meanwhile, John Adams’s Doctor Atomic opens at the Metropolitan Opera on Monday 13 October. Matthew Gurewitsch draws cogent parallels, in today's Times between Peter Sellars’s “vintage” staging of the Amsterdam performances and Penny Woolcock’s new production for the Met, noting, however, that Ms. Woolcock “has never directed for the stage”.

Gurewitsch reviewed Douglas C. Cuomo’s Arjuna’s Dilemma late last month. Drawing into his piece references to Doctor Atomic and an appraisal of Philip Glass’s Santyagraha, the review pairs well with Tommasini’s considerations of music’s ability to depict mysticism and the dangers that inhere.

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