Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Composer: Adam Gorb
Librettist: Ben Kaye
Conductor: Nicole Paiement
Anya: Anna Noggle, soprano
Mila: Shawnette Sulker, soprano
Carole/Natalia: Catherine Cook, Mezzo-soprano
Uri/ Gabriel: Andres Ramirez, tenor
Viktor: Victor Benedetti, baritone
Elena: Laura Krumm, mezzo-soprano
Anya17 by Adam Gorb is an opera about the sex trade that has won an award in England. Anya thinks she is getting married but instead is kidnapped into the sex trade. Carole and Mila are kidnapped with her. This is a relatively distinguished cast for mostly local singers, but I think nothing saves it.
We are spared all hints of actual sex. I hesitated to see this because I thought it might be sordid. The problem is that it isn't sordid enough. There is lots of violence, as much as would be possible without actually hurting anyone. Mila is murdered before our eyes and Viktor is killed in a fight with Gabriel.
Was it worth it? For me only the last scene really worked operatically. Anya awakes in a hospital, tells about her status as number 17 in a menu of women, and ends the opera by remembering her name. It's a true operatic mad scene. But why hadn't we heard of this menu before now?
Was it worth it? Shrug.
The opera was presented in the Marines Memorial Theater, an acceptable space with a lot of stairs. The orchestra was partially hidden behind a scrim. It worked pretty well.
I must mention the two dancers, Janet Das and Quilet Rarang, who acted as stage hands during the opera. Their looks seemed to suggest gender neutrality, so they could come and go without seeming to blend with the action.