Reviewed by Paula Citron
August 4, 2011
Later the Same Evening (music by John Musto and libretto by Mark Campbell), directed by Leon Major, conducted by David Angus
Starring Patricia Schuman and Jake Gardner
A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck (music by Jeanine Tesori and libretto by Tony Kushner), directed by Francesca Zambello, conducted by Tesori
Starring Schuman and David Pittsinger
Alice Busch Opera Theatre
Jul. 21 to Aug. 22, 2011
The strongest opera program at Glimmerglass in terms of totality – both musical and theatrical values – is the double bill of two new American works. The linked theme is that they are inspired by American icons.
Later the Same Evening, created in 2006, with music by John Musto and libretto by Mark Campbell, brings to life characters from five paintings by figurative realist Edward Hopper. The world premiere, A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck, with music by Jeanine Tesori and libretto by Tony Kushner, is based on a true incident from the life of playwright Eugene O’Neill.
Both composers write accessible modernist music with sly touches of colour. David Angus conducts the Musto score with Tesori conducting her own opera. Both give clear readings that highlight the many moods.
The excellent staging come from Toronto-born Leon Major for the Hopper, and Francesca Zambello for the O’Neill. The clever shared set is by Erhard Rom.
Glimmerglass Festival continues at Cooperstown, New York until Aug. 23.