Last night, the Lyric Opera of the North opened their season down in The Underground with a two-part opera: Face on the Barroom Floor and Bon Appetit. Both performances left opera-goers “with a good taste on the palate,” as the Duluth News Tribune put it. Check out the review here: (and make sure to call ahead for tickets while they still last!)
Review: Opera-goers leave with good taste on the palate
By: Samuel Black, Duluth News Tribune
In a positive attempt to increase diversity, increase opera ticket purchasers and please the general public, the Lyric Opera of the North staged two very short American compositions Thursday, and pulled them off with gunshots, popping corks, and very powerful singing.
The Underground at the Depot was the site of this evening, and it was overflowing with fans on opening night.
On Thursday night, we were entertained by two separate operas, one with a plot, one with a recipe for a delicious chocolate soufflé. Everyone went away with a good taste on the palate.
The barroom opera composer, Henry Mollicone, is a living American composer who became fascinated by a lovely woman’s face painted on the floor of the Teller House Bar in Central City, Colo. Really!
He composed “The Face on the Barroom Floor” in the mid-’70s to share some of the history of that painting. Three singer-actors — Vicki Fingalson, Marcus McConico and Jeffrey Madison — shared the roles of Madeline, Matt and John from the 1860’s gold-rush era. But they began and ended as Isabelle, Larry and Tom in the present world of 1978. In this intense triangle, the same woman gets murdered (shot) two times by the same man (ex-lover). Then she comes back to center stage, dancing and laughing until the lights go dark. Isn’t that what opera usually involves?
The stage was cleared, bodies removed and the bar became the working table for none other than Julia Child, sharing an incredibly French chocolate cake with her audience. Emily Lodine, special guest of the Lyric Opera, has sung this role several times and has a very wonderful blending of the charisma of Child, and the musical gift she brings to the script. A blind person in the audience would probably conclude that Child was present, making this creamy dessert.
Minneapolis director Robert Neu added his exquisite touch to the Mollicone story, and music director Dirk Meyer masterfully cued the instruments and vocalists with a sparkling effect. Intensity, exuberance, followed by champagne and chocolate — an operatic experience not to be missed the next couple of days in the secret night scene of Duluth.
Samuel Black is a Duluth pianist/conductor/writer, who thrives on live music and the opportunity to write about it.
If you go
What: Two short American operas
Where: The Underground venue of the Duluth Playhouse
When: Friday and Saturday, 7:30pm
Cost: $28 for adults, higher options for tables with champagne