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Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 in new articles, Reviews | 0 comments

Operagasm Review Rundown: Long Beach Opera puts its own spin on ‘Thérèse Raquin’

Operagasm Review Rundown: Long Beach Opera puts its own spin on ‘Thérèse Raquin’

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Suzan Hanson, left, and Ani Maldjian of the Long Beach Opera perform “Therese Raquin.” Photo credit: Cheryl A. Guerrero / LA Times

by Melissa Wimbish

Thérèse wha? Never heard of this opera composed by Tobias Picker with a libretto by Gene Scheer, but it seems Mr. Picker is becoming a favorite. According to Mark Swed of the LA Times, he’s a ”New Yorker with a melodramatic style that seems to suit California. He is the only composer to have been commissioned by the state’s three leading opera companies.”

If you’re in 60 degree Los Angeles, get out of the cold and go check it out. Before you do, here’s the Operagasm Review Rundown of Ken Cazan’s production of Thérèse Raquin:

Thérèse wha?: “A diffident young woman obliged into an unhappy marriage with her sickly cousin Camille, Thérèse begins a torrid affair with her husband’s oldest friend. To get Camille out of the way, Thérèse and Laurent lure him onto a boat and throw him overboard. The lovers eventually marry, but guilt destroys their passion. Thérèse’s life goes from sad to mad with only a momentary interlude of lustful indulgence.”

Sometimes Safeway brand is really handy: “The vocal writing is often generic, and some of his most effective instrumental effects are reminiscent of the finest dramatic film scores. But Picker does have a knack for producing convincing atmosphere and narrative.”

Nice adjectives turn me on: “Mary Ann Stewart let the fervor under Thérèse’s plain-Jane exterior slowly emerge until finally overwhelming her. Matthew DiBattista’s Camille excellently conveyed a fine-grained snootiness. Ed Parks’ Laurent was a study in the false security of virility. Suzan Hanson brought an irresistibly irking monstrousness to Madame Lisette Raquin.”

Check out the full review from Mark Swed of the LA Times here!

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