Web Cowgirl 衛 思 維 (webcowgirl) wrote,
Web Cowgirl 衛 思 維

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Dream of Zeus was a snooze

Last night we went to Consolidated Works to see Dream of Zeus, the new opera by local composer Garret Fisher. I've never been to any of his stuff before, even though I've heard a lot about his stuff and he seems to be quite the Seattle darling. My interest (aside from a general interest in What's New) was in the viola da gamba I saw included in the orchestra (in addition to taiko, harmonium, and oboe) and Cathy Hanson-Mack, my favorite local singer. I figured, toss these elements all together, and it would have to be a good night, right?

Well, I was quite surprised by the actual execution of these elements. Garret's local fame doubtlessly is heavily influenced by his taste for the most vile multi-culti hodgepodge I've been assaulted with in some time. He started out having his singers performing in Greek ... but why? No explanation can remove the fact that it didn't move the narrative forward. The costumes blended Japanese hapi coats with Greek-like folded sashes tossed over them - forming a painful dissonance. His orchestra never came together - they were a stew of different cultures that suffered from a lack of cooking time but were all forced to sing the same tune (specifically, western-style music). Sure, Zeus' oboe theme was quite good, and the taiko (and hand) drumming during the murder scene was excellent, but the viola da gamba was meaningless (and poorly played) and the electric guitar was grating. Of course, I imagine the Seattle audiences clapping their hands at his cleverness at pulling all of these elements together, but unless the result works, my thought is that he should pare it down to a seamless group and stop sticking other stuff in just for the sake of novelty.

To drive the knife in further, I was appalled by the bad modern Dances with Scarves routines, and the dialogue was puerile. "There must be a new justice... what can the new justice be?" At least the Greeks had stories to tell and exciting dialogue (and serious conflicts) to push them forward. Garret had one message: Let's Learn to Forgive. His story had no appreciation for the subtlety of the Greek storylines about the problems of ego and the conflicts of duty. At least he had some good singers, and there were two moments in the second act where I was actually impressed by what was going on on stage, but it seems like the story was arranged around creating these tableaus rather than having something interesting going on musically or dramatically. Eech. Perhaps if I'd bothered to read the review in the Seattle P-I before I went I could have been warned off - $22 is a steep price to pay for an evening so poorly spent.

In other news we've had three people call on the dog, so there's some hope for finding her a new home, and I'm doing quite well with my hiragana. I'm looking forward to my Japanese class tonight!

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