by Parker Ramsay
For those of us keeping track, June has been an eventful month for American opera. Premieres of Anthony Davis’ The Central Park Five (Long Beach Opera) and Ian Bell’s Stonewall (New York City Opera) placed narratives of society’s dispossessed front and center on opera stages on both coasts. So too has a lost opera found a rebirth: directed by Yuval Sharon, Meredith Monk’s Atlas moved audiences in a production by Los Angeles-based Industry Opera at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Meanwhile at the Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich, I had the welcome surprise of seeing an opera which incorporates experiences of racial prejudice and homophobia at the same time. Composed in 1965, Hans Werner Henze’s Der Junge Lord tells the story of Lord Edgar, a secretive English aristocrat who settles in Willhelmine, Germany, and soon finds himself under suspicion of homosexuality, child abuse, and the general social transgression of socializing with friends of African descent (two roles are specifically cast for persons of color). [Read more…]