I Object: Nyman's The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Kate Whitley's Unknown Position
Organization of this opera double bill title “I Object” at the Institute of Contemporary Arts was a total disaster. The whole idea of programming a 31 years old opera is far away from being contemporary. Pulp Fiction The Wolf would have complained with a Well, let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet. Anyway if one choose the auto-complacent event at least try to match it with a proper contemporary opera (re: new creation) like “we premiere this new thing 30 years ago, and we still do the same”. Instead they matched it with Kate Whitley’s Unknown Position, an opera from 2011. The link was, apparently, that both operas talk about loving objects. How wrong. Add to it a horrendous access to the hall, having to wait on an overcrowded hipster bar far beyond the starting time, some extra delay, and a vintage photographer taking pictures with a vintage camera with a noisy shutter during the pianissimi.
Anyway, the best of the night was the spending musical direction by Mark Biggins. Production design was just inexistent, with plain lights and poor actors direction.
Raphaela Papadakis sang quite well in both operas. Whitley’s one was quite non-memorable and Nyman’s was as expected easy listening.
Problem of the night was the tenor who had to step in for the Nyman opera and had to sing with the score. I don’t known if it was because of the lack of rehearsal but he was the worst actor I have seen on stage in the last years. And that was quite a problem. Fortunately the easy listening kept the audience minimally engaged.