Post by AddisonMizner on Jun 12, 2017 17:20:59 GMT
I went to see this yesterday (11th June).
I have to say I went purely for the presence of Lawrence Brownlee in the title role (that was written for his voice). I had never heard him live before yesterday, as he does not seem to sing much in this country for some reason (although he is doing SEMIRAMIDE at the ROH in November). Well, he did not disappoint! It is a beautiful voice - open with excellent "ping" at the top. The composer seemed to utilise a lot of his middle and bottom register, but when he sang the top notes it was truly thrilling. However, it was vocally strong from all of the small cast.
I found the score to be melodic, and liked the use of themes, or leitmotives throughout. For a modern opera, I did certainly come out humming some of the music (not that I think this is necessarily a marker of quality). I also felt that the style was very suitable to the subject, and a nice "fusion" of the jazz and classical idioms. However, there were some very bemused jazz fans leaving the theatre. I think they expected more of Charlie Parker's actual music, and I'm not sure if some of them knew that it was an opera. I believe there were some snippets of his music in the score though.
The staging was simple, but effective and I liked the way that the story was structured and told, with dead Charlie looking back on his life, particularly from the perspective of the women. The staging of the asylum scene was also particularly well done.
Overall, a highly enjoyable experience, and nice to see some new opera, particularly sung so well. Not quite a 5-star experience, but certainly 4. Go if you can!
Brownlee is most accomplished in the Title role, but unless you came as a Jazz or more particularly Parker fan, I’m not sure that the Opera created a compelling case for why he was so important. Perhaps they felt if they focussed on the women in his life we emotionally would buy into it, but it left me a little cold.
I admire Parker’s playing but don’t really ….like it. The composer tried to suggest the complexity of his thought and gave him a style unlike the others. I preferred the music for everyone else! As for themes, I couldn’t recognise any standards except some thing that was repeated’ that sounded very like “Bess, you is my woman now”.
A strong cast and great musicianship from the ‘Orchestra’ made it an interesting night out. Much of the audience found it VERY challenging.