Day By Day

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Night At the Opera

"She Who Must Not Be Named" and I attended the Peabody Chamber Opera Company production of "Dora" (music by Melissa Schifflet, libretto by Nancy Fales Garrett). Friday evening. It was an interesting experience. The opera is based on the case of Ida "Dora" Bauer, a young victim of sexual abuse who was treated by Sigmund Freud for hysteria. Most of the story is told in flashbacks which reveal a horrific series of abusive incidents and also raise questions about Freud's relationship with his own daughter, Anna. There's not much to admire in the story. It is simply the standard feminist indictment of Freud and a litany of male sins against women. There were a number of clumsy jokes at Freud's expense. "Dora" is less a work of art than a political diatribe. The music and libretto are not well integrated and the performances for the most part were merely adequate [this is, after all, a student production]. The standout was Jessica Abel in the title role who was in superb voice. This was a chamber presentation and the staging was interesting. A group of provocatively posed nude female mannequins, symbolizing the objectification and subjugation of women, ringed the stage [no subtlety here]. Given the limited facilities performers had to double as stagehands and it was amusing to watch singers move pieces of furniture around the stage while they were singing. That aspect of the performance did exhibit some ingenuity.

It wasn't a bad evening -- about what I've come to expect from the lefty art crowd these days. A minor diversion, nothing more.

Oh, and there is some nudity.