Monday, August 14, 2006

'Out Of The Clear Blue Of The Western [Eastern] Sky Comes ... Sky King [American Opera]!'

"July was New American Opera Month in the purple hills of upstate New York and western Massachusetts. You could hardly drive your Smart car from the lesbian bed-and-breakfast to the organic farm stand without running over an adaptation of a literary property. Stephen Hartke’s “The Greater Good” made its début at the Glimmerglass Opera, in Cooperstown. The Lake George Opera, in Saratoga Springs, presented Ned Rorem’s “Our Town,” which had its première in Indiana earlier this year. Elliott Carter’s opera “What Next?” (1999) belatedly had its first American staging, at Tanglewood. Back in New York, Elliot Goldenthal’s “Grendel” was the centerpiece of the Lincoln Center Festival, in a Julie Taymor extravaganza. These performances, all well attended, came at the end of a musical season that brought John Adams’s “Doctor Atomic” to the San Francisco Opera, Tobias Picker’s “An American Tragedy” to the Met, and Lowell Liebermann’s “Miss Lonelyhearts” to Juilliard.

Are any of these new operas towering masterworks that will alter the course of music history while winning the hearts of millions? People have been asking that loaded question of American opera for a hundred years, and the way they phrase it almost demands a negative answer. Better to ask whether a new work is strong enough to hold the stage. If it does, it has a future, and the masterpiece-sorting can be done by later generations. “The Greater Good,” “Our Town,” and “Grendel” passed this test: lustily, wistfully, and by a hair." ...

Alex Ross "WHAT NEXT? A trio of new American operas" The New Yorker from issue of August 21, 2006.

July was not 'Opera Month' in Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, nor the Future State of Palestine; nor in several other struggling-to-develop regions of 21st Century C.E. World Civilization, such as Darfur, Africa.

On Sunday, at Bint Jbail, which is east of the ancient Lebanese port city of Tyre [and not 'East of Eden'], a woman [and not a diva] waited to be evacuated out of the Israeli free-fire zone.

Earlier, Israeli war planes had dropped leaflets over one-half of Southern Lebanon, as well as large parts of the capital city of Beirut, demanding that Lebanese citizens -- young and old, healthy and infirm, rich and poor -- abandon their homes and homelands.

Photo credit: Zohra Bensemra and Reuters via New York Times, August 14, 2006. With thanks.


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