Sunday, June 07, 2009

"Through a Glass, Darkly" presented by Gay Men's Chorus of Washington


The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC performed its annual Pride Concert this weekend, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon (June 8 and 9, 2009) in Lisner Auditorium of the George Washington University.

The portion of the concert, called "Friends", before the intermission was brief (35 minutes). There were nine songs: “Friendship” (Richardson), “Will You?” (Frankel, Korie, Richardson), “I Will Never Be the Same” (Melissa Etheridge, with the Rock Creek Singers and soloist Michael Fratz0, “Trust the Wind” (David Friedman, with soloist Jeff Mace), “Look In My Eyes” (Carnelia), Sara Lee (Kander & Ebb, with Potomac Fever and Justin Zimmerman, with a nice marquee from the food company), “Help Is on the Way”, (Friedman), “Lifelong Friend” (Gaspard and Dawson with soloist Colin James) and “We Can Be Kind”, David Friedman with soloist Stuart Goldstone, with a peace and anti-war and free love message.

After the Intermission there followed the featured work, a 45 minute rock opera by Michael Shaieb, “Through a Glass, Darkly” special WGMC (website). Sebastian is played by Tim Tourbin, Billy by Peelee Clark, and Zack by Justin Bank, along with the full chorus.

The musical is about the misuse of crystal methamphetamines in the gay male community. The sixth (of thirteen) numbers is called “Making It” and features props like a huge bottle of Sudafed that show how crystal meth is made, and makes light of the idea that this activity is an entrepreneurial, home-based “business”.

The “anamorphic stage” with the chorus in the middle, and the two small apartments on each end create a split screen effect, but also the effect of a 3-D, full wide-screen movie. The characters interact with some intimacy in the apartments (more or less in PG-13 range).

It's well to remember that opera tends to deal with controversial issues of a time (for example, "Doctor Atomic" reviewed November 8 2008); sometimes the subject matter seems taboo to some audiences. That was true in earlier generations; for example, Richard Strauss's "Salome" and "Elektra" were sometimes considered immoral in their day.



Note: The Tony Awards are airing on CBS tonight, link here.

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