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Subject: Re: Bel Canto
From: DK Conn <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:DK Conn <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 14 Jan 2017 20:45:13 -0500
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I did not see the Bel Canto television broadcast but did listen to the premiere's radio 
(internet) broadcast.  I found the music inoffensive but not memorable, and even given 
the considerable talent (I don't include the squeaky soprano) and expense that must have 
been poured into this, I was not impressed.

Luckily not all contemporary operas fall flat.  In the past year I have been fortunate to 
see two new American works that I think are absolutely masterpieces:  Greg Spears's 
"Fellow Travelers", libretto by Greg Pierce (premiered at Cincinnati Opera; I saw the final 
performance) and Missy Mazzoli's "Breaking the Waves", libretto by Royce Vavrek 
(premiered at Opera Philadelphia; I saw this at the Prototype Festival in NYC).  If there is 
any regret I have, it is that I saw each opera only once.  "Fellow Travelers" in particular 
seemed sadly too timely:  it tragically premiered only a few days after the Pulse 
nightclub shootings.  Both operas were NY Times picks for "Best Classical Music of 2016", 
and both will have a life--as I understand it, several companies are pursuing further 
productions/performances.  A recording of Fellow Travelers is to be released shortly.

Other US companies presenting world premieres this season include Arizona Opera (Craig 
Bohmler's "Riders of the Purple Sage"), Minnesota Opera (William Bolcom's "Dinner at 
Eight"), and Nashville Opera (Robert Paterson's "Masquerade", "Safe Word", and "The 
Companion").

DK



On Sat, 14 Jan 2017 18:14:44 -0600, gordon young <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>During the "discussion" about the current political situation in the US one
>of our members mentioned how people seemed more interested in this topic
>than in opera. Today I notice no one has commented last night's Bel Canto
>from Chicago.
>38 minutes into the first act I looked at my watch ... not a good sign ...
>but I did watch the entire opera. For me it had the problems that I
>generally associate with contemporary opera. The melodic structure was
>bland with little variety. The orchestration was labored often becoming
>noisy which was appropriate for some scenes but not for all.
>Not only was I not moved by the musical language but the libretto's attempt
>at poetry came across as trite and predicable. It was also the choices made
>in how to telling the story with more emphasis on crowd scenes than
>centering on the characters. Again, I think, one of the things that annoyed
>me was how noisy the whole thing was.
>Contemporary opera interests me a great deal and I have seen a great deal
>in the theater and on video (does that date me?) and the web. Some I like
>and some I do not like but I will always give them a chance.
>It also was not filmed very well.
>Gordon

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