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No time for Wagner? Try operatic miniatures


by Olin Chism 12 Feb 2008

Do five-hour operas by Wagner test your patience? A new trend in opera is aimed at people like you. Even the shortest of attention spans should be sufficient to cope with operas that are only 15 minutes long. There’s hardly time to be bored. Tapestry, a Toronto company, and the Scottish Opera have both taken […]

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Do five-hour operas by Wagner test your patience? A new trend in opera is aimed at people like you. Even the shortest of attention spans should be sufficient to cope with operas that are only 15 minutes long. There’s hardly time to be bored.

Tapestry, a Toronto company, and the Scottish Opera have both taken the plunge into short opera. They are presenting programs of miniatures (seven in one evening in Toronto, five in Scotland). Resources are minimal: a conductor, a stage director, a designer or two, a handful of singers and a chamber orchestra.

The operas are all brand new, of course. Puccini, much less Wagner, never wrote anything that short. Teams of composers and writers, some recruited from outside opera, have concocted the minis. Judging by the descriptions, they’ll pack a punch. For instance, the subject of Toronto’s Peace of my Heart by Dave Carley and David Ogborn is “a twisted time on the operating table.” It’s billed as a comedy.

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