The world of opera is always looking for the next great piece that will squeeze its way into the standard repertory. The Met premiered John Corigliano's masterpiece twenty years ago and perhaps only a few operas have enjoyed such instant acclaim in the last two decades. Some that come to mind are Henze's "L'Upupa," Brett Dean's "Bliss," Mark Adamo's "Little Women," Birdwhistle's "The Minotaur," Saariaho's "L'amour de Loin," Ricky Ian Gordon's "The Grapes of Wrath," Heggie's "Dead Man Walking" and "Moby Dick," Philip Glass' "Hydrogen Jukebox" and "Appomattox" and John Adam's "Doctor Atomic."
Those have been outnumbered by some memorable flops led by Howard Shore's "The Fly" and Michael Daugherty's "Jackie O." So we were overjoyed with the critical acclaim that has greated American composer Nico Multy's "Two Boys" at the English National Opera. There is nothing that we could possibly add to Norman Lebrecht's spot-on review in The Telegraph, which you can read in its entirety HERE. Lebrecht's article is a "must read" for a number of reasons, including his views about what opera needs to do to succeed and, in particular, appeal to young people.
|Jonathan McGovern: Jake in Two Boys|
Critic William Robin said the opera deserves its place on the Metropolitan Opera's 2013-14 schedule. He perfectly described the music in her review:
Muhly composed several tender, brief, solo arias for the principal characters, and engaging dialogues both online and off. Though his music suggests the throbbing postminimalism of John Adams, his most clear influences come from this side of the pond — the English choral tradition of Herbert Howells (evoked in a somewhat out-of-place church scene) and the operas of Britten. “Two Boys” teems with references to Britten, from the pealing gamelan-style gongs of “Death in Venice” to the finale, an ornate passacaglia straight out of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
The baritone role in the opera is sung by Jonthan McGovern who is new to this site. He was the winner of the 2nd Prize at the 2011 Kathleen Ferrier Awards and graduated with a first-class honours degree in Music from King’s College London. He completed a PGD in Vocal Studies at the Royal Academy of Music and continued his studies with Royal Academy Opera. He was winner of the gold medal and 1st Prize at the Royal Over-Seas League Annual Music Competition 2010.
Recent operatic roles include Wu Tianshi and Pokayne in the première of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ opera Kommilitonen!; Shane Postcards from Dumbworld at Belfast Grand Opera Hosue; Delfa in Cavalli’s Il Giasone; Sid with Royal Academy Opera in John Copley’s first Albert Herring; Fiorello and Figaro cover Barber of Seville on tour with Armonico Consort Opera and Don Parmenione L’Occasione fa il ladro for RAO.
In September McGovern will join the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme to reprise the role of Sid for the Britten Festival in a new production conducted by Steuart Bedford and directed by Oliver Mears.
Click HERE for ticket and performance information.