Presented by the BU Fringe Festival
Composed by John Musto
Libretto by Mark Campbell
Based on 5 paintings by Edward Hopper: A Room in New York, Hotel Room, Hotel Lobby, Two on the Aisle, and Automat
Music direction by Allison Voth
Stage direction by Jason King Jones
Conducted by Tiffany Chang
Review by Kitty Drexel
(Boston, MA) Later The Same Evening is a concept opera based on five paintings by Edward Hopper. Edward Hopper (1882–1967) was an American artist who employed watercolor (Impressionist) techniques in his paintings of everyday life. His style is defined by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as utilizing, “clearly outlined forms in strongly defined lighting, a cropped composition with an almost “cinematic” viewpoint, and a mood of eerie stillness.” His influences include cityscapes, Cape Cod, his wife Josephine Verstille Nivison. He is famous for capturing the tensions between the modern and the old, people, and mood lighting. His most famous painting, Nighthawks, is used frequently in popular culture (including this sassy adaptation) to depict late night melancholy.
The score by Musto and Campbell is kicky and fun. There are some great lines that are musically expressive as well as linguistically creative. The four parts that stood out for their unique character were Ronaldo Cabral (an excited bachelor, Franklin Mosley), Jimmy O’Keefe (a musical enthusiast, Joshua Rotz), Valentina Scarcella (a noisome Italian, Jennifer Klauder) and Thelma Yablonski (an usherette, Sara Beth Shelton). These roles added some necessary flair to the production as well to the humdrum lives of the opera’s victims.
Katy Polk gave a sincere and woeful performance as Elaine O’Neill. Elaine might not be the most quirky of roles but it is the meatiest.
The staging by Jason King Jones was chewy and thoughtful. Jones had his cast dancing as they sang wistfully about the rain, why they were in the rain, and the many metaphors the rain stood for. In “The Show” the cast was seated, silently reacting to a production of the musical “Tell Me Tomorrow!” that only they could see. It was similar to Act 3 in Noises Off! and very entertaining. There are some faces in the cast seemingly made of putty.
The fringe festival performance that I saw (Saturday night) was of professional quality. The performances given suited the Lane-Comley Studio perfectly. It was a satisfying night of opera performance and the talk-back was very informative.