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Posted by on Feb 5, 2015 in new articles, Reviews | 0 comments

Operagasm Review Rundown: ‘Everest’ at Dallas Opera

Operagasm Review Rundown: ‘Everest’ at Dallas Opera

by Melissa Wimbish

Kevin Burdette and Mark McCrory in ‘Everest.’ PHOTO: KAREN ALMOND, DALLAS OPERA

Kevin Burdette and Mark McCrory in ‘Everest.’ PHOTO: KAREN ALMOND, DALLAS OPERA

British composer Joby Talbot and librettist Gene Scheer have teamed up to tell a story that most wouldn’t have envisioned on the opera stage. And, guess what? It totally worked. Check out the Operagasm Review Rundown of Everest, the story of three climbers who got trapped during a blizzard on top of mother-effing Mt. Everest:

Introducing Joby Talbot: “‘Everest,” a remarkable first opera by the British composer Joby Talbot … forges art from a contemporary tragedy … Mr. Talbot has a gift for tension and pacing, and he knows when to let the orchestra roar and heave and when to make it beautiful. He also knows when to rein it in.”

Libretto/chorus magic!: “Gene Scheer’s taut, streamlined libretto, drawn from interviews with survivors, focuses on two situations: Rob Hall (the expedition leader) and Doug Hansen push on to the summit even though Doug is unwell, and Beck Weathers stays behind and gets lost. The fragmentation of the narrative builds suspense, and the stories are welded together by a chorus that echoes and questions the climbers [counting] out the minutes of that fateful day—“2:59. 3:06. 3:12”—a flat rendition of time ticking away, when every second matters for survival. Only at the end do we understand, chillingly, that the chorus represents the spirits of those who have died on Everest, and that “it’s time to add another name.””

Four words: DE. VA. STA. TING.: ”The excellent cast made fine work of Mr. Talbot’s expressive vocal writing. Andrew Bidlack’s sweet tenor brought a touching vulnerability to Rob. The opera’s most devastating passage was his final telephone conversation with Jan, the powerful Sasha Cooke, as he is dying on the mountain, when the two let go of their anguish to simply comfort each other.”

Click here for the full review!

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