"My one claim to fame is that I once almost killed Michael Tippett..." - Man standing on the stairs after Act One of Lyric Opera's The Midsummer Marriage on Saturday night. *
"The opera is totally awful. [pause] Yeah, it's a modern opera; I should have known it would be awful, like how any time you go to the symphony and it's a modern symphony, it's always awful." -- Man on a cell phone in the bathroom queue, moments after the above.
Since I'm being paid for a detailed opinion that has yet to appear, I'll say only this: The new production of The Midsummer Marriage at Lyric Opera of Chicago is a glorious evening of singing, dancing and playing. Also, stage construction and lighting. Really, it's a brilliant show. Whether it actually manages to overcome Tippett's idiosyncrasies to reveal the work as a masterpiece is subject to debate, but this production does make the strongest possible case -- and Sir Peter Hall even provides a visual cue attempting to explain the story's trippiness.
Already, John von Rhein's Tribune review is here. Although I was a lot more enthusiastic in summation, most of my conclusions weren't all that far afield. I'll be interested to find out what Heidi Waleson, the only other New York critic I spotted, has to say. [Update: Wynne Delacoma's review is here.]
In my absence, my humble blog has continued to provide a nexus for ongoing revelations of connectivity between Marc Geelhoed, Amy Dissanayake, David Rakowski and Daniel Felsenfeld -- now also including Rick Moody. (If he turns up and posts here, I swear I'm going to freeze the entire site and sell screen shots on eBay.)
[* Yes, I know, I should have lingered to catch a little more of that exchange. But, unaware of how much more generous than Met are Lyric intermissions -- or maybe it just takes longer getting up the aisle in the Met -- I was in too great a hurry to get from Overheard the First to Overheard the Second.]