Curtain Call acoff023

Published on May 2nd, 2014 | by Zamná Ávila

0

Coffin in Egypt Review

By John Farrell

For more than 400 hundred years, the biggest driving force in opera has been mental illness.

No, not mental illness of the megalomaniac kind that drives producers to spend millions, which they can’t afford on productions that are less than glorious. (That’s a book in itself.) Mental illness of the kind that causes women and men to go crazy with grief, with passion, with regrets.

A Coffin in Egypt, the new opera by gifted composer Ricky Ian Gordon is the latest in that long and honorable tradition. The libretto, by Leonard Foglia, is based on the play of the same name written by playwright Horton Foote. This opera was specifically written for Frederica von Stade.

A Coffin in Egypt is one woman’s very emotional look at her own very violent, very unhappy life. Most of that life was spent in the small town of Egypt, Texas. Myrtle Bledsoe, a 90 year old who has outlived her violent husband, her two daughters, everything but her regrets. With a few speaking roles and the backing of a gospel choir, Myrtle relives her life full of disappointment and more than a little hatred, of blacks, her husband and even her children. She says that she once had a chance to be a star on Broadway, once was seduced by a sheik who wanted her to run away with him. But she always returned to Egypt, where her husband was continually unfaithful to her, finally murdering the father of his 17-year-old mistress with whom he was having an affair.

The murder, we are sure, was real, but the other stories? Perhaps they are true, perhaps not. At 90, who knows? But all Myrtle has is the memories and the knowledge that finally she will join all her family in her own coffin in Egypt.

Flicka, as von Stade is always called, retired three years ago but agreed to come back for this role. At 68 she is still in vibrant, she still has a delightful voice (though the performance on July 23 at the Wallis Center was miced). She sang with passion, lively and cheerfully remembering her days in Paris and Morocco, with anguish and sorrow and a tinge of madness when she recalled her husband and their relationship. The work is in one long hour, with the choir singing original tunes by Gordon, with Flicka always the center of attention.

Gordon is one of the best opera composers around. His tuneful, friendly way with music guarantees the audience is involved and delighted. He has been represented at Long Beach Opera, where his Orpheus and Eurydice was performed in the Belmont Shore Olympic Pool, and there are hints that his opera The Grapes of Wrath will eventually reach Los Angeles.

A Coffin in Egypt, some critics have said, will not survive. It was written for a single voice and after she is done, no one else will take it on. It seems more likely that the role, which is a great one for any mezzo, will be heard again. And Flicka, at 68, is younger than Placido Domingo, who is still going strong.

Tags: , , ,


About the Author



Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑
  • Like Us On Facebook!

  • Official RLn Twitter


  • The Guide to Fine Dining

    The Guide to Fine Dining
  • Calendar

    July 2015
    S M T W T F S
    28

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: CommunitySeal Day 2015

    Category: CommunitySummer Concerts by the Sea

    Category: ArtIn the Garden, Art & Music Fair

    Category: CommunitySenior Comedy Afternoons

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    Category: EntertainmentSummer Concert Series

    Category: EntertainmentA Salute to Santana

    Category: TheaterPick of the Vine-Season 13: Private Lives

    Category: TheaterPrivate Lives

    29

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: TheaterAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    30

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    1

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: CommunitySan Pedro Kiwanis Club

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    2

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: CommunityFarmer’s Market

    Category: Community7th Annual Cars And Stripes Forever

    Category: ArtFirst Thursday Artwalk

    Category: CommunityOpen Mic Nite

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterPick of the Vine-Season 13: Private Lives

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    3

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: ArtFirst Thursday Artwalk

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterPrivate Lives

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    4

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: Community4th of July Jazz and Blues Festival

    Category: Community4th of July Jazz and Blues Festival

    Category: Art4th of July Extravaganza

    Category: CommunityAll-American 4th of July

    Category: TheaterPrivate Lives

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    5

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: CommunityThe Rebel Reverend

    Category: TheaterPick of the Vine-Season 13: Private Lives

    Category: TheaterPrivate Lives

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    6

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    7

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    8

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: CommunitySan Pedro Kiwanis Club

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    9

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: CommunityFarmer’s Market

    Category: CommunityOpen Mic Nite

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterPick of the Vine-Season 13: Private Lives

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    10

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterPrivate Lives

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    Category: EntertainmentWATTS50

    11

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: TheaterPrivate Lives

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    12

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: TheaterPick of the Vine-Season 13: Private Lives

    Category: TheaterPrivate Lives

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    Category: TheaterThe Heir Apparent

    13

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterCock

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    14

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    15

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    16

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterPick of the Vine-Season 13: Private Lives

    17

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterPrivate Lives

    18

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterPrivate Lives

    19

    Category: TheaterTE San Pedro Rep’s Celebration Series

    Category: TheaterPrivate Lives

    20

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    21

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    22

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    23

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    24

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    25
    26 27

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    28

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    29

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    30

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    31

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    1
  • Take a Trip to Havana

    Take a Trip to Havana
  • Get Home Delivery!

    Get Home Delivery!
  • Join the RLn Network

    Subscribe Today:


    Options


  • Reset The Net: Protect Your Privacy

    Reset The Net: Protect Your Privacy