Sunday, August 07, 2016

Powder her Face

Photo by Cory Weaver. 

Music Director and Conductor: Mary Chun
Stage Director: Elkhanah Pulitzer

The Duchess: Laura Bohn
The Maid, and other characters: Emma McNairy
The Duke and other characters: Hadleigh Adams
The Electrician and other characters: Jonathan Blalock

One of the operas for the summer festival of  West Edge Opera is Thomas Adès' Powder her Face, a purportedly biographical opera about Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll. The composer waited until her death in 1993 to dig up all this old dirt--the opera dates from 1995.  Perhaps it's necessary to be British to fully enjoy this.  Everyone but the duchess had very light blond hair.

I'm going to call this as I see it.  This was like two different operas:  the serious, intensely emotional performance of Laura Bohn, something I might possibly call a masterpiece, and everything else.  Let's just say I don't normally watch porn.

Fake sex is only marginally interesting.  I tried to figure out what about the opera suggested the sex.  The judge comes out and says, "Order, Silence, Justice."  Then he says a bunch of other stuff, and then repeats the first three words.  The first time he says them they are drawn out and kind of wavy, but the second time he just says them.  So the first time the wavy music is used to express someone doing fellatio on him under his judge's robes.  So fioratura is sexual.  This goes with the Lucia I saw recently.  Ho hum.

I don't think I would want to see this opera again, but I'm sort of a fuddy-duddy.

Laura Bohn was magnificent.

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