* Notes *
Love/Hate, a chamber opera by composer Jack Perla and librettist Rob Bailis, premiered to a sold-out ODC Theater on Thursday night. The collaboration between ODC Theater, American Opera Projects, and Music Without Walls features the San Francisco Opera Center's Adler Fellows singing, playing, and even conducting. The piece calls for only four musicians: a violinist, a cellist, a clarinetist, and a pianist. Likewise there are only four singers, each a different voice type. Conductor David Hanlon kept everyone together with grace.
The singing was all quite powerful. Tenor Thomas Glenn was clear and his movements smooth. Soprano Marina Boudart Harris was winsome. Ao Li (baritone, pictured above with Laura Krumm, photograph by Laura Kudritzky) was able to switch from awkward George to confident Casanova without missing a beat. Laura Krumm's mezzo-soprano voice has a lightness that does not lack for volume.
The opera itself has a wry sensibility, starting off with popular cellular phone rings, and continuing in this amusing vein for most of the evening. The words were prominent. The set, designed by Bethanie Baeyen, is effective, evoking changes in time and space with the same drollness as the libretto and music. M. Graham Smith's direction was entertaining, though the choreography from Chris Black tended toward artificial.
* Tattling *
The audience talked, especially during the beginning of the piece.
A thunderstorm during the opera was audible in the theater, but it suited the piece, since it seems our protagonists are at Muni bus stop on a rainy day.