This isn’t my favorite type of music and I won’t be adding a recording of the opera to my iPod, but I’m always glad to see a new opera, especially when it takes on a topic like the testing of the first atomic weapon at Los Alamos. The music was quite beautiful; my problem is when the voices come in and sound as if they’re singing a different melody altogether than the orchestra. The staging (by celebrated director Peter Sellars) was creative and engaging, culminating in an amazing bit of theater using soundscapes, music, dance and slow-motion performance to evoke the momentous first bomb blast. When the last sound died away, there was a full minute of absolute, chilling silence before the applause–it was one of the most powerful moments I’ve ever experienced in live performance.
Last month I saw a performance of John Adam’s Doctor Atomic at Lyric Opera and I delayed in writing about it and then forgot to post the damn thing! So, while there’s no chance of seeing this in Chicago (performances concluded last month) I did still want to record the experience–