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Erling Wold's Certitude and Joy

Certitude-and-joy* Notes *
Erling Wold's chamber opera Certitude and Joy opened at Bindlestiff Studio in San Francisco this evening. The piece involves several pairs, these being two actors, two dancers, two singers, and two pianists. The action, directed by Jim Cave, took place on and around a small, beautifully-constructed pier in the middle of the theater. The work certainly had a lot going on, every moment seemed filled with sound and movement.

It seemed like a lot of words since the actors (Bob Ernst and Talya Patrick; the latter pictured above, photograph by David Papas) and even dancers (Kerry Mehling and Travis Rowland) all spoke, sang, or vocalized at various times. Soprano Laura Bohn and baritone Jo Vincent Parks sang well in the small space and were not overwhelming. The ZOFO duet, which includes Keisuke Nakagoshi and Eva-Maria Zimmerman, played intently and with vigor.

The effect of all this was rather novel and strangely alien. The narrative concerns LaShaun Harris, the young woman who threw her three children into the Bay in 2005. Though she seems quite pitiful, she is not a particularly sympathetic individual. One did appreciate the interlaying of the Abraham and Isaac story, which is obviously relevant. There were also some arresting visuals employing leaps, lifts, falls, and fabric.

* Tattling *
The audience was engaged and attentive. No inappropriate behavior was noted.