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LA Opera Off Grand – prism

Review: p r i s m

LA Opera Off Grand and Beth Morrison Projects combine forces for a fascinating world premiere at REDCAT.

LA OPERA OFF GRAND  PRISM p r i s m is part of the Contemporary Opera Initiative and the current world premiere by Ellen Reid and Roxie Perkins. The Initiative supports efforts to advance the art form through experimentation and cultivation of new voices and new visions.

Librettist Roxie Perkins and composer Ellen Reid create an interesting mother-daughter story with truthful and emotional themes relatable from the beginning of time.

The opera opens with a unique scenic design (brilliant Adam Rigg) which sets the tone and theme of the story. On stage, (sanctuary as it should be) encapsulated in a crystal clear, transparent box is a bedroom set; which not only shields the outside world from the characters, but the world (being the audience) from them. A prism.

Act I was fascinating – a mesmerizing performance between Lumee, the doting over-protective mother (amazing Rebecca Jo Loeb) and Bibi, the ill daughter (equally amazing Anna Schubert). Both are locked away in their own world – the mother tending to the daughter who is unable to walk due to an unidentified illness which paralyses her legs. As the story unfolds, we witness their co-dependency and the rebellion of the daughter who begins to question her mother’s motives. At the end of Act I, Bibi defies her condition standing at the door contemplating staying or venturing out into the world. A suspenseful moment as the “curtain drops.”

After intermission, Act II opens in what seems to be a flashback. The set (the sanctuary as it was) is now transformed into a disco-ish era when the mother was self-absorbed in her own satisfaction and fun. The music is vivid and bold lead by Music Director and Conductor Julian Wachner aptly.

Act III takes place in a disheveled bedroom (sanctuary as it is) and the circumstance of our characters continues.

This experimental piece leaves plenty to the imagination and approbation by the audience.

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