from the New York Times article on Fort Worth Opera’s 2015 Frontiers series:
. . . City Opera is no more, and other companies have taken up the challenge, including the Fort Worth
Opera, which announced the program for its Frontiers series on Monday. The subjects could hardly be
more varied, among them “The Golden Gate,” Conrad Cummings’s setting of Vikram Seth’s novel
about the changing relationships of five twenty-somethings in San Francisco in the 1980s. . .
(read complete article)
from the New York Times review of The Golden Gate staged workshop, January 18, 2010:
. . . lithe melodic lines that flow and entwine in the manner of Monteverdi, peppered with musical references to Henry Mancini and the punk band Black Flag. Those cues enrich Mr. Cummings’s clear, appealing score without overpowering or derailing it. Constantly shifting between firsthand declamation and third-person observation, they achieved a gabby intensity more often encountered in Stephen Sondheim’s musicals than in the opera house.
(read complete review)
from the January 2011 Opera News article “The New Masterpieces, Best New Operas of the Twenty-first Century:”
. . . Conrad Cummings’s The Golden Gate. I saw a DVD of a semi-staged performance with piano that knocked me out. It was really honest and full of feeling. I was caught up in the story and the people, as if I were watching a movie. . .
(see the complete list of “Best New Operas of the Twenty-first Century”)
from the MusicalAmerica.com review of The Golden Gate staged workshop, January 18, 2010:
. . . As a composer, Cummings could be termed a faux-naif, whose deceptively simple music-making (akin to but quite different from that of Virgil Thomson) masks a fine sense of musical characterization and a depth of feeling. The music itself is sinuous and fluid, moving from a single line of melody to chordal sections to a sort of pattern-music of repeated short blocks of notes – always in movement and always responsive to the text. Cummings has always had a gift for opera, and his vocal line is not only eminently singable but effective in giving the accompaniment a feeling of being complimentary rather than at odds with the voices. And, like all good opera composers, his music-making keeps the dramatic impetus moving. Cummings’s type of studied simplicity however is no end in itself: it can rise to powerful moments within the score, as in several of the love duets, and can illuminate the difficult scenes of Phil’s growing love for Liz and she for him. Certainly John’s threnody for Jan, “She died alone,” is the vocal centerpiece of the opera, although it never dominates the texture of the rest of the work.
(read complete review)
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