The aesthetic vision of M. Lamar’s Funeral Doom Spiritual was undeniable. Read more »
“Reading the texts…I found to my fear and horror, words that killed, words that told every time of women’s undoing.” So wrote feminist critic Catherine Clément in her controversial 1979 study Opera: The Undoing of Women. Though the focus of her work was on classic operas like Madama Butterfly and Lucia di Lammermoor, her thesis, that violent mistreatment of women is central to opera, was confirmed last weekend when Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now presented new works in which women were variously gang-raped, eviscerated and executed by firing squad. [Observer]
David Lang’s recent vocal music has been an exercise in extreme austerity. the loser, premiered last year at BAM, saw Rod Gilfry standing nearly motionless on a platform high above an almost entirely empty opera house—empty on purpose, not as a result of the poor ticket sales of contemporary opera—narrating a story in concert black, the score using oblique musical gestures to tell a story with a meaning so cloaked in deadpan ironies as to be totally ambiguous. Read more »
“You can’t imagine anyone else writing an opera that sounds like this one, though you devoutly wish someone would.”
It’s particularly bewildering that before 2013 there was no such thing as the Prototype Festival.