You can find my entire review at Liberty Island as well.
I’m not what you would characterize as a typical fan of opera, be it of the buffa or not-so buffa variety. In fact, when a close friend of mine-who also happens to be a classically trained pianist-asked me whether the opera I intended to see today was dell’arte, I had to make a hasty trip to Wikipedia in order to answer her question. As it turns out, it did include a number of masques, all of which had either practical or symbolic significance, although it didn’t rely upon stock characters, and is not really what you could accurately describe as a comedy in any traditional sense of the term. Additionally, I’ve always had a healthy skepticism about the aesthetic appeal of this artistic medium, perhaps uncharitably viewing it as simply an elephantine, period version of As The World Turns or General Hospital, only carried out in a language which I don’t understand. The productions always struck me as a bit of a waste of the talents of composers such as Bizet or Puccini-or the vocal ingenuity of a singer like Renée Fleming.
That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by The Boston Tea Party Opera, currently featured at Fringe NYC, which seeks to frame contemporary national debates involving the encroachment of civil liberties and attenuation of Constitutional rights within the context of this nation’s politically tumultuous founding. The tenor is understood almost from the second scene of this dramatic work, when the Redcoats seeking to physically impose the draconian provisions of the Stamp Act march out onto stage garbed in modern-day SWAT team uniforms. The rapidly vanishing distinction between a standing army and domestic police departments is seemingly ripped from today’s headlines, but is actually a subject which has been argued and litigated at length since the creation of our constitutional republic, especially over the past century and a half. Read More »