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Subject: UrbanArias opens season with The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat at Atlast Perf Arts, DC(10-16-16)
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Date:Mon, 17 Oct 2016 18:49:35 +0000
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This past weekend was the debut of a new production of Michael Nyman's fascinating work "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" based on the novella by Oliver Sachs and the true story of a singer/vocal teacher which was first debuted in 1986. 
Dr S -Ian McEuen 
Dr. P -Jeffrey Beruan 
Mrs. P-Emily Pulley 

Interns-Courtney Kalbacker/Valentin LeRoy 

Conductor-Robert Wood 
Director/Designer-Grant Preisser 

This production and concept was ideal for the subject matter and really worked so well with a lower level at the center and raised platforms left and right. Parkay floors gave a classy feel to the couple's home, but also worked for the doctor's office at the start where two interns are taking notes as Dr. S (Sachs) first speaks and ultimate sings. I knew nothing of the original story nor the novella and came in blank, so some of the technical neurology terms were foreign to me, but that did not matter. We knew this gentleman suffered from the start and his wife was hiding something. As the work progresses, we see that not only is she attempting to disguise his ailment, but she has adapted to it in a manner that is truly uncanny, so that not only others, but she herself is bling to the situation. 
The singers were superb and excelled beyond belief at times especially in the chess game scene where they sang so quickly the chess moves that it was difficult for the "interns" to mimic the moves on an overhead projector with a chess board. Truly spectacular, might I say a modern version of coloratura! 
The music has an underlying theme which repeats and is very Glassian throughout; the minimalism is clear and present, but never to the point that lyricism is forfeited. 
I can't say I would run out and buy a recording of the work, but then the purpose of these performances is to have them produced with quality and that end was easily reached. 
UrbanArias will repeat this work again next weekend on October 21 & 22 and fans of short modern works (this is an hour) should grab a seat; there is also a post-opera discussion with the cast. 
Coming this season for UrbanArias is LUCY by John Glover & Kelley Rourke in April at Atlas followed by THE BLIND by Lera Auerbach at Signature Theatre in Arlington next June (I'm not quite sure how I feel about being blindfolded for the entire performance!?) 
www.urbanarias.org 


ALAN SAVADA of Washington, DC 


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