Wolf Trap Opera continues to impress. WTO’s first opera of the summer season is The Rape of Lucretia, which of course deals with a very sensitive subject. This might raise some concern among potential attendees. Some opera companies of late have created controversies by enhancing the sexual/violent aspects of their productions beyond the traditional, presumably to increase attendance. Kim Pensinger Witman, Director of WTO, noted in her blog post on the summer season that this opera is presented “within an extremely thoughtful and delicate framework.” However, she and WTO go even further to address the issues forthrightly by planning a “Lucretia Project” consisting of four events to precede the opera: the “Lucretia Symposium” will discuss issues around artistic presentation of sensitive subjects; the “Read Lucretia” forum will explore narrative treatments of the story; “Hear Lucretia” will offer music and poetry around the Lucretia story; and, “See Lucretia” will examine the treatment of the legend by visual artists. What a wonderful way to immerse oneself in this cultural experience!
Never seeming to rest, WTO has just announced that last year’s performance of The Ghosts of Versailles is now available for streaming on your electronic devices for a limited time period, the first WTO performance to be made available by streaming. My son and I attended the performance live last year and thought it was one of the most enjoyable performances we have seen. I do recommend reading a synopsis of the opera prior to viewing it; the story is rather involved and complex. It is linked to Beaumarchais’ Figaro trilology; the first two plays were used as the storylines for The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro and Ghosts incorporates elements of the third play, The Guilty Mother. In the opera, the ghost of Beaumarchais seeks to help the ghost of Marie Antoinette come to terms with her execution. Composer John Corigliano and librettist William M. Hoffman were commissioned by Met Opera to produce this new opera with a premier at the Met in 1991. The music is at times beautiful and at times eerie, befitting of ghosts; in 2000, Corigliano turned the music into an orchestral suite titled Phantasmagoria. I suspect that we might see more streaming from WTO, but not likely to remain free. So, take advantage while you can – click here.