Congratulations to Washington Concert Opera for their recent Otello (Rossini’s version). Yesterday’s Post proclaimed the discovery of tenor Kenneth Tarver – a former Wolf Trapper. As were Otello cast members Elizabeth Futral, Bruce Ford and David Langan. And let’s not forget WCO conductor and Artistic Director Antony Walker.
“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”
The final day of last week’s Opera America conference brought a terrific presentation of scenes from new operas – some already premiered, some under development. The artists were from the Florida Grand Opera Studio, and they did outstanding work. I loved the chance to hear this wide range of new music, but I did draw one sobering conclusion. Aside from the one excerpt from a children’s opera (the witty Three Pigs Remix), there wasn’t a comic opera in the batch.
I can appreciate a composer’s desire to write music that is touching and dramatic. But there has to be a place for laughter. Why does it seem to be largely avoided in the spectrum of new works? Is it because if you write a comedy your work won’t be taken seriously? Or (more likely), it’s just too damn hard to do it well.
Of course, I have an ulterior motive in mentioning this, and you may have guessed it. We’re bringing back John Musto’s and Mark Campbell’s Volpone next month. A 21st-century opera that manages to be smart, tuneful, and funny.
This is a Test