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Last Night in L.A.: “What to Wear”

“What to Wear” ended its all-too-short run yesterday.  When you find out its schedule for performance in New York, get your tickets right away.  Better yet, get tickets for two dates (or more), because you’ll want more than one evening.  As reported and commented on last week, this is the opera with music by Michael Gordon and libretto, design, direction, and occasional voice-overs by Richard Foreman.  Gordon’s music is a pleasure to hear and feel.  (I wouldn’t have minded a few fewer decibels.)  David Rosenboom, one of whose sidelights is being dean of the CalArts School of Music, was music director and he led a pulsing, vibrant performance.  An ensemble of seven musicians (two keyboards, two violins, bass, electric guitar, percussion), all superior talents.

The opera reaches an emotional and philosophical climax in the scene that contemplates and presents the inevitable results when a duck enters a fine restaurant.  Following this catharsis, the heroine’s wondering whether or not she is still beautiful and her realization that golf can still be part of her life gave closure to those of us in the audience.  Foreman’s text and direction allows for some individual interpretations by the audience.  For example, one reviewer believes that the four heroines (two sopranos, alto, and tenor) are sisters, while I feel they are merely different aspects of the same physical person.  The four soloists and the six women of the singing chorus gave excellent performances, as did the eleven gender-free members of the movement ensemble. Thank you, CalArts and REDCAT.

Watch for news, and go see this.  See it twice.  It’s great fun.