Prototype festival of new opera foregrounds pregnancy narratives and prison tales


Two monodramas stand out among the opening productions of New York’s Prototype Festival. in our daughter’s eyesHosted at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, the piece is a fascinating retelling of the process of pregnancy from the point of view of an overjoyed yet apprehensive future father (known as Male). The compelling script by Michael McKilken (who also oversees the production) is poignant as it conveys the joys of a man who keeps a journal and builds a crib in his home workshop, but disturbing dreams raise concerns. cause. Fear of his own inadequacy and his struggle with alcohol haunt him.

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun’s music is atmospheric and can be sparse in texture. Then a five-man instrumental ensemble (conducted by Kamna Gupta) is played during an interlude when the bass clarinet is accompanied by a cello arpeggio, or a drunken climax by a man who seems to have musically unleashed all hell on earth. During, play more continuously. Luckily, Yoon’s fluent and engaging vocal writing for The Man, with noted baritone Nathan Gunn (co-producer), facilitates a powerfully expressive performance, with a gentle ending. Find relief in the scene. ★★★★☆

Naomi Louisa O’Connell in “Mary Motorhead” © Maria Baranova

30 minutes of Irish composer Emma O’Halloran Mary Motorheadwas expertly directed by Tom Creed in its world premiere at the Playhouse Theater at the Abrons Arts Center, in our daughter’s eyes But it works on a more modest scale. Again, the trained operatic voice is front and center, this time telling the story of a strong-willed but downtrodden young woman. (The script is by Mark O’Halloran, Emma’s uncle.)

Naomi Louisa O’Connell’s assertive portrayal of Mary in the prison corridors evokes sympathy despite her deadly emotional volatility. O’Halloran’s instrumental her writing often consists of repetitive patterns with an avant-garde twist, faithfully supporting dialogue. However, her vocal her lines are idiomatically conceived and can skyrocket O’Connell’s performance. ★★★☆☆

In a sparsely furnished bedroom, one man stands with a canned drink while another sits on the bed

Two men meet for sex in Emma O’Halloran’s ‘Trade’ © Maria Baranova

in a double building with Mary Motorhead O’Halloran’s trade, also a world premiere, with a libretto by Mark O’Halloran.Like Mary Motorhead, trade is about an ordinary Irishman – here two nominally heterosexual men who meet regularly for sex – but it has proven less successful. A man (Mark Kudish) pays a younger man (Kyle Bielfield) to meet him, but the dialogue is too mundane and too slow-paced to keep the piece 60 minutes long. I could not do it. Music lacks the power to carry the day. ★★☆☆☆

David Lang note to friendanother world premiere looks promising later in the week.

Until January 15th, prototype festival.org



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