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Subject: Re: Wash Natl Opera's American Opera Initiative proves perfect with world premiere of PROVING UP (1-19-17)
From: Godfrey Daniels <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Godfrey Daniels <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 22 Jan 2018 09:22:35 -0500
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I attended Proving Up at the Terrace Theater of the Kennedy Center yesterday. It appeared 
to be a house full of people of all ages. Midgette has an interesting review in this morning's 
WaPo.
I had not been in the Terrace Theater since the renewal and the acoustics continue to be 
excellent. All the singers were excellent. Leah Hawkins as the mother was stunning once 
she got warmed up going from growling chest phrases to very high flying gossamer 
pianissimis. Christopher Kenney as the father has a very handsome baritone which he 
deployed effectively and beautifully. Tenor Arnold Livingston Geis had the unenviable task of 
portraying an 11 year old boy - Britten's Miles anyone? So it is impossible and I didn't really 
get for awhile how really young he is - not the fault of the librettist who gave plenty of 
clues. But Geis did an oustanding job in any case. All the leads, including Timothy Bruno as 
the Sodbustiner/Reaper/Inspector were very very impressive. The ghost sisters had some 
really weird music to sing and carried it off well. The score was more accessible, i.e., 
recognizable and just traditional enough to keep us from running out from stress.
Alan, I think you are right that the Sodbuster is the Grim Reaper. The whole family is dead 
at the end - just like the other family from whom they had gotten the glass. Or maybe he is 
a personification of Karma.
I've attended 3 new operas recently, 4 if I include The Trial last summer. They were 
Elizabeth Cree of Kevin Puts, Fellow Travelers of Gregory Spears and Proving Up of Missy 
Mazzoli. I would say we as opera fans are doing well. All 4 are characterized as "chamber" 
operas - perhaps this is the wave of success of the future.
While in Washington I also got to see the Vermeer exhibit at the National Gallery of Art on 
its last day. It was crowded but at least the NGA was open!

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