Angels in America

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 149.
  • strict warning: Declaration of date_api_filter_handler::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/date/includes/date_api_filter_handler.inc on line 578.
  • strict warning: Declaration of nodequeue_handler_field_all_queues::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/nodequeue/includes/views/nodequeue_handler_field_all_queues.inc on line 78.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_user::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/views/modules/user/views_handler_field_user.inc on line 48.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_term_node_tid::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/views/modules/taxonomy/views_handler_filter_term_node_tid.inc on line 303.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/medium/bmop-dev.mediumbold.com/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
The Financial Times
George Loomis
June 29, 2006

By calling his drama Angels in America "a Gay Fantasia on National Themes," Tony Kushner implies that his two-part, seven-hour saga about America's response to Aids operates like a musical work; perhaps he even envisioned that it might one day be turned into an opera. That day came in 2004 when the Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös's opera had its premiere at the Châtelet in Paris. That a long play had been transformed into a shortish opera (2? hours) provoked little dissent, but critics held that Eötvös's music lacked a strong profile.

Indeed, in witnessing its American premiere, a collaborative effort by Opera Boston and Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Eötvös's Angels sometimes seemed more like an experimental music-theatre piece than an opera. The vocal parts (all amplified) have a lot of speech and very simple musical declamation. Instrumental textures oblige by being correspondingly sparse, yet Eötvös's imagination ensures that, more often than not, they are interesting. I liked the cacophonous accompaniment to the telephone calls of the lawyer Roy Cohn (the piece's "villain"), the orchestral use of voices in echoing words, the glittering resplendent music for the Angel when she appears before the Aids victim Prior, and the arresting blend of treble voices in reacting to news of Chernobyl.

Notwithstanding the lofty subject of Kushner's drama, its plot has been likened to soap opera. But soap operas are entertaining, and so is Eötvös's opera even if it falls short of being cathartic.

Clint Ramos's all-white set, with clusters of musicians dressed as medics at either side of the stage, represented a hospital room. This left to one's imagination the opera's many locales but facilitated swiftly moving action under Steven Maler's direction. Amanda Forsythe sang radiantly as the Angel (though it was a disgrace that the amplification distorted her high notes) and another arresting soprano, Anne Harley, excelled as Harper, the valium-addicted wife of the closeted homosexual Joe (Nikolas Sean-Paul Nackley). Thomas Meglioranza won the audience's sympathy as the Aids-afflicted Prior, abandoned by his partner out of fear. Gil Rose's conducting stressed instrumental precision and showed a fine feeling for dramatic flow.
3 out of 5 stars

By George Loomis for the Financial Times
© Copyright 2006 The Financial Times Limited