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In San Francisco, a Week of Vacation spot Opera


Frank’s partnership with Cruz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, has been fruitful within the live performance corridor, however this is their first opera. As a staff, although, they’re naturals: his libretto poetically concise, her setting of it flowingly dramatic, with beneficiant, singer-friendly melodies and an ear for the musicality of language on the extent of syllables and phrases.

Their topic is extraordinarily acquainted — the love of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera — however the remedy is much less biographical and extra mythic. This is a piece that offers within the broad strokes of opera, and appears to tip its hat to the earliest identified story within the artwork type: Orpheus and Eurydice. But right here, as a substitute of the hero touring to the underworld to retrieve a misplaced love, the protagonist journeys to the land of the residing. In each circumstances, although, a artistic spirit is required to cross borders, and there are dire penalties for any missteps.

In approaching his characters this fashion, Cruz avoids the pitfalls of retreading the well-known ups and downs of Kahlo and Rivera’s relationship. Instead, they’re handled as archetypes, for the higher. And quite than inform a life story — which in opera tends to end in episodic, undramatic works — Cruz hews to classical unities, with a targeted plot that unfolds on the Mexican Day of the Dead.

Diego — the baritone Alfredo Daza, a quiet and low-lying presence that grew because the evening unfolded — begs Frida to return to him three years after her demise. But Frida (the customarily affectingly aching mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack), within the Aztec underworld, doesn’t need to revisit the place of her emotional and bodily agony. In the top, she is persuaded by a fellow artist, a younger actor named Leonardo, sung with creamy richness by the countertenor Jake Ingbar.

She is lured by the hope of going again for her artwork, quite than for Diego — whom she can’t contact, she is warned by the Keeper of the Dead, Catrina (the soprano Yaritza Véliz, the work’s comedian and musical spotlight), or she shall be newly barraged with recollections of ache. Of course she touches him, in a reconciliatory embrace, however she is as soon as once more saved by portray. And, because the Day of the Dead involves an finish, he pleads to the gods to let him be a part of her within the underworld, the place they continue to be collectively ceaselessly.

Frank’s rating, just like the libretto, principally avoids apparent decisions, with solely flashes of conventional Mexican music. But the manufacturing, by Lorena Maza, is sensitively particular to put, supported by Jorge Ballina’s scenic design and Eloise Kazan’s costumes, on a stage arrange like a terraced cemetery adorned for the Day of the Dead. The motion takes place inside a gilded body that surrounds the proscenium; focusing issues even additional are shutter-like panels coloured with a wealthy blue redolent of Kahlo’s home, the Casa Azul.

Content Source: www.nytimes.com


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