Judgment of Midas – May 2009

Please share with us your thoughts about this program. Your responses are critical in helping AOP develop new music!

May 9 & 11, 2009

Judgment of Midas

Judgment of Midas

JUDGMENT OF MIDAS BY KAMRAN INCE South Oxford Space Brooklyn, NY

Featuring: Music by Kamran Ince Libretto by Miriam Seidel Featuring performances by John Duykers, Abigail Fischer, Jeremy Milner, Matt Morgan, Nicholas Probst, and Michael Redding. Also featuring Sarah Nelson Craft, Heather Michele Meyer, Sarah Moulton, and Margaret O’Connell.

J. David Jackson, conductor (5/9) Jonathan Khuner, conductor (5/11)

Charity Wicks, piano

 

2 Responses to Judgment of Midas – May 2009

  1. guest says:

    I don’t mean to be mean, but this opera just isn’t up to snuff. The libretto is colloquial, as was so patently demonstrated in the read-through at the end of the evening. However, the music fails to match the style of the libretto. Rather than the libretto’s style of language dictating the pace/style of music used, the music imposes its rather monotonous pace on the libretto, regardless of the dramatic situation. This makes for a very boring evening. However, I sympathize with the composer, as the libretto is as unpoetic as they come, and the prose is just too mundane for the type of music it’s set to. The story has the potential to make for interesting drama, incorporating elements of fable, farce, serious drama and satire, not to mention the ancient/exotic/fantastical setting. The libretto, however, makes attempts at humor that are more befitting a sitcom than an opera. The failure of the “humorous” lines to elicit laughter is magnified by the tension between text and music, in which the music inhibits the (limitedly) expressive elements of the libretto, rather than hightening them. A similar dysfunction plagues the attempts at dramatic expression as well.

    I disagree with Anonymous in that the introductory music struck me as the most interesting, and I actually had high hopes once the mood was set by the introduction. Sadly, the opera started to encounter problems once people began singing. Not to fault the cast, maestro or pianist at all. I thought they did a magnificent job with challenging and rather unrewarding material.

    If the goal for this piece is to have it performed by professional companies for actual audiences, then I think it’s got a long way to go. There needs to be much more musical distinction between characters in order to make the piece as a whole more interesting. The sentiments expressed in the arias just read as trite and the incessant repetition of text throughout the work makes it feel (and actually last) even longer.

    A good start would be to change the backgrounds of the lovers. Theo and Abby are not where the potential audience interest lies. A modern composer? A pop singer? Why not just make them regular people? Their sub-plot isn’t interesting anyway. I think it would be more effective to make them more generic and have the mythological characters be more of the focus of the drama. The scenario just isn’t really suited to the development of a love story that audiences will care about. Especially given the odd choice of background for each character.

    Musically, the text just needs to be set more naturally. And there needs to be much, much less repetition of text. Otherwise, the piece lacks character and dramatic effect.

    I realize that this is unkind, but better to read it now than from a reviewer after the premiere. I just can’t envision a scenario in which this piece as written has any legs.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Midas has good potential. When all is said and done, I liked the contours:

    >the character of Abby needs development – she is not really all that interesting, despite the “software” moment.
    >there needs to be some judicious trimming of the introductory music, and also when it returns during Tmolus’s aria
    > the second Tmolus aria might be better during the song contest scene instead of where it is now.
    >Midas/Melik needs more important, or direct, music in many places. some of it seems too casual. The part about the curse of the golden touch cries out for a more complex treatment – we need to feel his pain and see how it has ruined him, not just hear about it quickly.
    > the chorus needs to be present in other scenes too – they are great!
    > for my taste there is too much of the New York jazzy music, sometimes in places where it is not warranted
    >Theo’s aria might benefit from less repetition and more varied text?
    > want more Apollo and Pan music

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