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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Noye's Fludde

Benjamin Britten's opera version of the miracle play, ''Noah's Flood,'' from the 1500s was presented at the L.A. Cathedral. It was introduced by Cardinal Mahony. With the history of Britten's star tenor Peter Pears and the recent controversial biographies, I was half expecting SNAP to be picketing the performance. God supplied rain.

The skeleton crew of opera and orchestra professionals augmented by community performers—children's choir and a high school orchestra—executed the program despite the cement airplane-hanger acoustics of the massive Our Lady of the Angels. New conductor James Conlon energetically rehearsed the audience in the three hymn sections that were to be sung and then he let her rip. The tale of Noah's Ark was easy to follow and very well sung by the tenor, Jason Stearns. The community-theatre sets were true to Brittan's arts-cutback era of post-war England. This fit well with America's perpetual, arts-cutback aesthetic. Even public schools have Catholic School-like candy fundraisers at Easter.

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