An Open Letter to Long Beach Opera, et al.

Posted on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To all concerned with Long Beach Opera’s production of Ricky Ian Gordon’s “Orpheus and Euridice”:


I attended the February 19, 2008, performance “Orpheus and Euridice”. Let me blow right past a heartfelt but admittedly generic “Bravo!” and mention a small number of the specific things for which I’d like to commend you:

*The score itself is a redoubtable piece of music, evoking the same sort of dark emotionality that I hear in the works of Henryk Górecki. I found “Song” in particular especially transporting (but this was merely a highlight among highlights).

*While I’ve not heard the piece without strings, the addition of them for this commission seems too organic be dubbed “addition,” meshing as they do with the musical fabric. E.g., the wavering musical reification of wind at the end of “Bliss” (“Where they moved, the breezes whispered thereafter”).

*The conception and staging were wonderfully realized, from the lighting choices (in terms of both the angles and color combinations) to the blocking (I know I’ve never seen anything quite like this) to details like the creep of the fog across and up off the water.

*The sound mix was pristine. One concern Ricky voiced when I interviewed him (which was after only an initial rehearsal) for the Gazette was that the sound (or at least its clarity) might get swallowed up in a space as cavernous and designed vis-à-vis acoustics as is the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool. Clearly, whatever obstacles the venue presented were masterfully overcome.

*The entire cast seemed to execute their respective roles expertly—and in this I of course include Elizabeth Futral and Todd Palmer. I lack erudition concerning the technical details related to being either or a coloratura soprano or a clarinetist; all I can say here is that it was breathtaking be in such proximity to that kind of controlled emotiveness.

Again, congratulations on the vision to create and stage such a piece and the ability to do it so well. I only regret that I do not have a wider audience with whom I can share these sentiments, because it was a privilege to attend such an event, a privilege I’d like as many as possible to get to enjoy.

Very sincerely,
Greggory Moore

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