I’m all for modern opera, but this one is highly questionable. Call me an old fogey if you like but just remember this: I was the guy who liked “Nixon In China” way back when.
Let’s start with the language. I think this opera is in English, but I’m not entirely sure. Whatever the title character is singing, it’s in a thick Austrian accent. He’s got a strong yet muddy booming tenor voice.
Sarah Conner (Dame Emily Blackford) impressively evokes a mid-western white trash waitress with the weight of the world on her plate. I had no idea that she could disguise her plummy aristocratic voice so well. Her soprano is flat-toned yet pure. I find it disturbing.
The librettist has developed all the key themes into sweeping vocal melodramas. Who can forget the loud soulless rendition of “I’ll (He’ll) Be Back”? My favorite, though, was “I’m Just a Model T-800.”
The set is impressive, but I don’t see how they can possibly restore it after every performance. We clearly see it reduced to rubble. Nice special effects, but there’s no awards for that in opera.