A Great Modern Work
Ironcharles | Houston, TX | 07/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was introduced to Jonathan Dove's music when I saw this opera a few years ago, and while I have not heard this particular recording aside from the cuts available on amazon's site, I whole heartedly recommend it.
There are many modern operas that do not lend themselves to the theatre. The composers have little knowledge about what makes good theatre. Jonathan Dove is the antithesis to all these composers. He knows how to tell a story and make us care about what is going on. "Flight" is an incredibly magical opera--so rare nowadays--because is really works in the theatre. There have been many comparisons made about Dove's music. One can definitely hear his influences--Adams, Bernstein, Sondheim--but he is certainly a man with a voice all his own (not that Adams/Berstein/Sondheim and the like are bad company at all--certainly one would dream to be compared to those giants). Listen to the cut of the first track of the first cd and you'll understand.
I was so amazed by this show I saw it three times, and to this day I wish I had seen it more. The story is based on the same book that inspired the Tom Hanks movie "The Terminal," though the plot bears little to no resemblance other than it is about a man who is a Refugee, caught in an airport he cannot leave because he has no papers and no identification. The opera, with an incredible libretto by April de Angelis, poignantly weaves the stories of several characters who are caught in the airport for a night because of a terrible electrical storm. Their stories are as funny as they are tragic; rarely can I say I have left the theatre after having laughed until my sides hurt and cried for minutes straight because of the same show. The mezzo's big number, "I Bought this Suitcase in New York," brought me to tears every time I heard it.
There is not a note of Dove's score that is unnecessary or out of place. This is an expertly crafted piece that deserves all the praise and recognition is has received elsewhere (though I admit I am shocked no one else has written a review here yet). There is a reason why this is one of the most (if not the most) performed new operas of the last two decades. Hopefully, this piece will make more inroads into the US than it has already; it would be great if a large company such as Houston Grand Opera, San Fransisco, or Chicago Lyric picked up this gem and introduced it to the American opera public at large. If it happens to come to your area, see it! If it comes out on DVD (I'm crossing my fingers), buy it! In the meantime, listen to this recording and enjoy on of the most well-crafted pieces of theatre to come along in a quite a while. You will not be disappointed."