Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Before Night Falls" in 4 Minutes

The opening of the world premiere of "Before Night Falls" is rapidly approaching. The buzz in the theater and opera world is that this is one of the "10 Must See" events of 2010. We've been promoting the opera because the lead is searingly sexy Wes Mason. Performances are on May 29 and May 6 at the Ft. Worth Opera.

Here is a synopsis of the story and a video which sums up the opera in four minutes.

As Reinaldo Arenas lies dying of AIDS in New York City, he remembers his home in Cuba as Fidel Castro takes power. A counter-revolutionary and homosexual, he is prosecuted by the state for having his manuscripts published outside Cuba. After a period of imprisonment and torture, Reinaldo's friend Lazaro receives permission to leave the country, but Reinaldo must find a way to escape to America. After learning he has a fatal disease, Reinaldo rushes to finish his memoirs and Lazaro stays by his side until the end.

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1 comment:

  1. More on Wes and Jorge Martin's "Before Night Falls":

    "One of [Darren Woods's] risks is casting an unknown to portray Arenas.

    “The intimidation was two years ago when I was first handed it at the workshop,” chuckles Wes Mason, the 25-year-old baritone making his major opera debut in the title role. “I’d never attempted anything that large before. But now I’ve lived with it all this time. And [director] David Gately and Jorge Martin have been the biggest mentors. When I try to think of other roles this is like, what I come up with is in the musical theater repertoire, where I’m onstage 90 percent of the time and have two very elaborate dances,” says Mason.

    Martin has no truck with that comparison: “I don’t mind calling it a musical,” he says of his opera.

    Mason had never even heard of Arenas, his memoir, or the Oscar-nominated film with Javier Bardem until he learned of the opera. And if the idea of playing a frankly sexual gay man gave the straight Mason pause, he doesn’t show it.

    “[Arenas] bounds into the sexuality without apologizing for it. His escapades, cruising are just so matter-of-fact and shocking … for anybody!”

    That homoeroticism is most tangibly expressed in the opera during an especially sensual and suggestive dance (choreographed by John de los Santos) between Arenas and his lover that Mason concedes may be off-putting to more traditional opera audiences — ironically, since they are used to much more physical contact between men in other contexts: “[Those people] need to watch a basketball game [or Ultimate Fighting Championship],” he laughs."