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13.7.09

Operas on the Fringe, Part 1: Magnum Opus

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See my opera review published at DCist today:

Fringe Festival: Magnum Opus, July 13

This year's Capital Fringe Festival features three chamber operas, including Michael Oberhauser's Magnum Opus, heard yesterday afternoon. This one-act chamber opera premiered in February, with a slightly different cast, at Catholic University's Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, where Oberhauser and most of the founders and performers of the small company Opera Alterna cut their teeth as students. The company's artistic director, Jay D. Brock, who directed the staging of this production, and several of the artists spoke about their work last week on WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi Show.

The story is a mash-up of the biography of Robert Schumann and the Faust legend. As the ghost of Schumann reveals, the two sides of his bi-polar musical personality -- the depressive, introspective Eusebius and the outgoing, manic Florestan -- were actually the voices of two muses, Melpomene and Polyhymnia. These muses also offer their Faustian pact to a modern-day Robert, a playwright and composer struggling to make it in Washington: they will inspire him to greatness, but at the risk of his own madness. [Continue reading]

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