Opera: Rufus Wainwright / Hadrian

I’m way behind the times. Since I discovered ‘Hadrian’, I find myself still saying to myself: “Rufus Wainwright? Wrote an opera?”

But Wainwright’s been at it for some time now, and he’s gotten quite good at it. The story is full-on grand opera with a deeply passionate May-October love affair between Hadrian and a young hunter, Antonius, as its centerpiece.


Opera: Sir Michael Tippett / The Ice Break

Sir Michael Tippett’s The Ice Break is one of those good old cultural boundary-pushers the the fine arts were infested with in the 1970s. Think: Bernstein’s Mass, Ligeti’s Le Grande Macabre, Glass’ Einstein on the Beach and others of that ilk.

It’s a pretty broad ilk, defined by the urge of aging establishment enfants terribles who were feeling so challenged by the excesses of cutting edge rock/punk/street culture.


Opera: John Adams / Doctor Atomic

Today I was checking out The Metropolitan Opera’s archival video of their 2008 production of John Adams’ and Peter Sellars’ Doctor Atomic. This opera focuses on the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist OB-GYN who brought the demon spawn of nuclear weaponry into the world, and the timeline of his time as head of the Manhattan Project.


Music Will Not Let Us Go

Some years ago I found myself at a high school reunion in deep conversation reminiscing with an ex-girlfriend who I hadn’t seen since my sophomore year.

While we were waiting for the third round of drinks to arrive my old paramour recalled her most prominent memory of me: 

“I remember you were really… into music.” The memory of this was not meant as a compliment.