Friday, November 16, 2007

Later the Same Evening... opera inspired by five paintings of Edward Hopper.

We attended the world premiere of this new opera--more of a singspiel, actually--at the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Maryland last night. And we enjoyed it. Think Leonard Bernstein's "Trouble in Tahiti" meets "Wonderful Town," meets Stephen Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park With George." Basically, the opera is a confection of a plot designed to connect characters in a series of paintings by Edward Hopper currently on display at the National Gallery of Art. It's a fantasy about painting, music, and the imagination--and it has a happy ending, too...

Among other things, Later the Same Evening... is obviously about New York--the libretto features this quote from E.B. White: "No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky."

Of course it is also about Edward Hopper, and about art, and about musical comedy, and about the 1930s, and about a lot of other stuff, too. While you don't leave whistling the tunes--too much Sondheim patter cum Kurt Weill for that--you do have a good time listening to the songs. Especially memorable was a purely musical interlude that represented a Broadway show performed in the 1930s--cute. The singers (who could also act) were enhusiastic, energetic, and all very good--Claire Kuttler, Andrew Adelsberger, Melissa Schiel, Onu Park, Eric C. Black, Eric Sampson, Kara Morgan, Jenna Lebherz, Adam Hall, Jenny Chen, Ethen Watermeir. Erhard Rom's sets, Nancy Schertler's lighting, and David O. Roberts costumes were good, too.

The Nastional Gallery Orchestra, conducted by Glenn Cortese, was terrific.

What could be bad?

Here are the credits:
John Musto, composer
Mark Campbell, librettist
Glen Cortese, conductor
Leon Major, director
Maryland Opera Studio
National Gallery Orchestra
"A joint project of the National Gallery of Art, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and the University of Maryland School of Music"
You can buy tickets online, at this link.