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]
Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) is opera on the grand scale with mellifluous arias and breathtaking duets that tell a tale of ancient Roman political machinations, adultery, and murder in which there is no true protagonist. This stunningly expressive music is performed by an all-star cast. Soprano Miah Persson, praised by The New York Times for her “sumptuous sound and elegant lyricism,” is joined by singers who have all won worldwide critical acclaim for their mastery of this beautiful repertoire. The Guardian wrote that “there are few performers better-versed in the music of Claudio Monteverdi than Rinaldo Alessandrini and the ensemble he founded 30 years ago, Concerto Italiano.” Alessandrini and company anchor a performance that promises to be one of the season’s most thrilling nights of opera.
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.
“…a perfect marriage of text and music, creating a series of tableau-like scenes, as if Paul’s story is being related through a series of exquisitely posed still photographs…”