Thursday night, I headed down to Lincoln Center to see the modern opera Séance on a Wet Afternoon, the first opera written by Wicked auteur Stephen Schwartz (confession time- I've never seen Wicked and am unfamiliar with Mr. Schwartz' work). I did not do my homework before attending the production, so I was unaware that the opera was based on a 1964 film:
Not being familiar with the source material, I sat through the first half of the opera thinking that it could very well be a black comedy, though the second half disabused me of the notion. The plot concerns a medium who concocts a kidnaping plot so she can gain notoriety by "finding" the kidnaped girl. The opera depicts her transition from unscrupulous charlatan to unhinged madwoman. Remarkably, Lauren Flanigan makes Myra, the medium, a sympathetic figure. Even as we are appalled and horrified by her plot, and a shocking act of cruelty, we pity Myra and her hapless, weak-willed husband, Billy. The child actors in the opera, Bailey Grey and Michael Kepler Meo were outstanding.
Fans of Stephen Schwartz would enjoy this opera immensely. I enjoyed it, but I do prefer the older stuff (Rossini is my personal fave, as I've mentioned before).