Friday, August 10, 2007

A Night at the Opera

As part of the festivities surrounding the mammoth Edward Hopper exhibit touring the United States this year and next, composer John Musto has created a new opera Later the Same Evening, inspired by five of Hopper’s works. Critics often cite Hopper’s cinematic potential (which Alfred Hitchcock tapped for Psycho), but this may be the first musical foray originating from Hopper’s work. (Did they ever consider calling it a “Hoppera”? I would have. OK, groan, if you must.)

The relationship between music and art always seems tenuous and ephemeral at best. Both media are so subjective that it’s hard to create any link that isn’t at least partly subjective. Perhaps Debussey’s “impressionist” compositions come the closest to approximating their painted cousins. Tickets for performances of Later the Same Evening are now available for the shows at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at The University of Maryland from November 15th through 18th. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC hosts a free performance on December 2nd (reservations can be made starting October 1st).

The National Gallery of Art press release provides links to a synopsis of the opera, lyrics to an aria, and two extended sound clips. Take some time out to listen and contemplate the five Hopper works they sprung from below:

Room in New York (1932)

Hotel Window (1955)

Hotel Room (1931)

Two on the Aisle (1927)

Automat (1927)

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