Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Jake Heggie's "The End of the Affair" comes to Berkeley

Carrie Hennessey and Keith Phares (Photo: Mellopix)
The West Edge Opera in Berkeley, California, is following up their critically-acclaimed production of Philip Glass' Hydrogen Jukebox with another 20th Century work, as they open Jake Heggie's The End of the Affair this Sunday, August 3rd.

The End of the Affair premiered ten years ago at the Houston Grand Opera with barihunk Teddy Tahu Rhodes in the lead role of Maurice. The West Edge Opera has hired barihunk Keith Phares for the role of the writer writer Maurice Bendrix. The libretto's last ten minutes were revised to alter the ending for performances at the Seattle Opera and the Madison Opera (with barihunk Philip Cutlip).

Carrie Hennessey and Keith Phares (Photo: Mellopix)
Based on the Graham Greene novel of the same title, it is set in London in 1944 and 1946 and focuses on Maurice and Sarah, who vows to end their illicit affair if his life is spared in a bombing. His survival leads to Sarah's religious conversion and Maurice's railing against God for it. After returning to her husband, Maurice hires a private detective to investigate her under direction of her cuckholded husband Henry. 

For those unfamiliar with the work, there is a quartet for lovers of the male voice that includes three baritones and a tenor. In the quartet the four men share their feelings about how Sarah has changed their lives.

Keith Phares in The End of the Affair (Photo: Mellopix)
Performances are on Sunday, August 3 at 3:00 p.m.. Thursday, August 7 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 9 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are available online. There are also two performance of Hydrogen Jukebox remaining on August 2 and 8, as well as performance of Puccini's La bohème on August 1 and 10. 

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