Opera About Brooklyn Hasidic Family Review

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
lennygoran
Posts: 14042
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Opera About Brooklyn Hasidic Family Review

Post by lennygoran » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:15 am

A friend sent me this-I won't be going to London to see it. Regards, Len :lol:


The track record of the greatest opera composers is littered with failures as well as successes, so I hope Na’ama Zisser isn’t too disheartened by her operatic debut, a 90-minute noir-ish mystery set among a Hasidic family in 1970s Brooklyn. On the other hand, it seems like a dereliction of authority that Mamzer Bastard is also the product of Zisser’s three-year residency at the Royal Opera House and the Guildhall School.

The Israeli composer and her creative team (which includes her sister and sister-in-law, Rachel Zisser and Samantha Newton, the librettists) had access to world experts in their field for consultation, research and workshops. Did none of them pluck up the courage to say that things weren’t up to scratch? At a commercial theatre this piece wouldn’t have made it past the first read-through.

A “mamzer” roughly translates as “bastard”, a child born out of adultery or bigamy. We’re eventually led to believe that the lead character, Collin Shay’s Yoel, is such a person, because his mother, Esther (Gundula Hintz), had a relationship with a man she thought had gone for ever. Menashe, her husband, wonders suspiciously why Yoel seems such a lost soul. On the night before Yoel’s wedding there’s a blackout in New York and he wanders the streets disconsolately until he meets a mysterious stranger (Steven Page). Family history has caught up with him.

There’s the spine of an interesting drama. Zisser and her librettists interweave their slight narrative with authentic cantorial pieces — Jewish prayers beautifully sung by Netanel Hershtik. It’s movingly implied that the melancholy of the characters springs from their recognition that, as a generation of survivors, bringing up children is more important than personal happiness.

Otherwise, however, the show is more shaggy dog story than compelling drama, and Zisser struggles to let the music tell her story. The singers are amplified (why?) and only Hershtik really cuts through. There is a lot of spoken dialogue: it’s all much too wordy despite the slimness of the plot. Little seeps through of orchestral textures — Jessica Cottis conducts the Aurora Orchestra — except the bluesy pitter-patter of piano. Most misguidedly of all, Jay Scheib’s production strands everyone in gloom, with a lone “cinematographer” shadowing the cast for baffling up-the-nose close-ups beamed on to a brick wall. Apparently this is what evolved after Scheib dropped his plans for a “concept design”, as his waffly programme essay explains. Sorry to kvetch, but Zisser deserved better than this.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/oper ... -kkxwp53f6

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 17698
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Opera About Brooklyn Hasidic Family Review

Post by Lance » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:58 am

Looks interesting to me. London is to far at the moment, however!
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

lennygoran
Posts: 14042
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Opera About Brooklyn Hasidic Family Review

Post by lennygoran » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:27 pm

Lance wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:58 am
Looks interesting to me. London is to far at the moment, however!
Lance definitely-btw ironically we are going to Lisbon and Madrid in Sept. Regards, Len :lol:

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 31 guests