reviewed by Paula Citron
TrypTych Concert and Opera
Composed by Andrew Ager
Libretto by William Whitla
Directed by Edward Franko
Starring Lenard Whiting and Stephen King with Melanie Conly, Michael Taylor, Dawn Bailey, Michael York, Graham Robinson and Charles Waddell
At the West Hall Theatre, Trinity Presbyterian Church until Jan. 22
The new Canadian opera Frankenstein deserves a shelf life. TrypTych, the little company that could, has mounted the world premiere in a church basement on a miniscule budget, but director Edward Franko makes the opera work.
William Whitla has written an intelligent libretto that pays good service to Mary Shelley’s original story, and the result is a poignant tale about a tender-hearted monster who kills by accident. The body count at the end rivals Shakespeare, but the compelling performance by baritone Stephen King as the monster touches the heart. Tenor Lenard Whiting as Dr. Frankenstein is not the best actor, but his diction is wonderful. The point is, the large cast can sing and you can hear what they say.
Andrew Ager’s impressionist music harkens back to Debussy, as does his arioso vocal lines. Ager played the piano for the performance and the arpeggio-laden score is rich in musical commentary.
Frankenstein continues at the West Hall Theatre, Trinity Presbyterian Church on Jan. 22.