Friday, February 07, 2014

Brokeback Mountain

Titus Engel conductor
Ivo van Hove stage director
Jan Versweyveld set designer, lightings
Wojciech Dziedzic costumes
Tal Yarden video
Annie Proulx libretto
Jan Vandenhouwe dramaturgy
Andrés Máspero chorus master

Daniel Okulitch (Ennis del Mar)
Tom Randle (Jack Twist)
Heather Buck (Alma)
Hannah Esther Minutillo (Lureen)
Ethan Herschenfeld (Aguirre / Hog-Boy)
Celia Alcedo (Alma's Mother)
Ryan MacPherson (Jack's Father)
Jane Henschel (Jack's Mother)
Hilary Summers (Waitress)
Letitia Singleton (Seller)
Gaizka Gurruchaga (Cowboy)
Vasco Fracanzani (Bill Jones)

I'm watching the live stream on from Madrid of Charles Wuorinen's Brokeback Mountain.  Daniel Okulitch is a lovely man, a man who dresses up as a cowboy quite nicely.  Gary Cooper had nothing on him.  He is apparently game for anything.  I'm not sure that's enough to save it.

The music is somewhere between secco and accompagnato recitative with percussion ensemble background.  It's ok, I guess.  The outfits are perfect.  The dialect appears also in the subtitles.  Everything is very American.  It was originally commissioned by the New York City Opera.

The scenes seem to change suddenly as if this wasn't really live.  Furniture disappears instantly from the stage.

The emotional extensions of aria are an essential feature of opera.  They extend and deepen the emotion.  The pace of constant recitative is fine for perhaps a movie, but in an opera it all has to take longer.  Okulitch is constantly on the stage which makes the whole idea of aria extensions seem impossible.

There is a certain theatrical rhythm that the best opera composers capture.  I don't mind Wuorinen's sound-scape which was criticized in other reviews I read.  But I didn't feel the right sense of timing in the scenes.  The story was well told, but the building of emotion through the scenes seemed to be missing.  Perhaps the right director could fix this.  I'm not sure.

Ennis's wife needs to have a real Princess Phone.  That would make all the difference.

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