I went last night to City Opera's A Quiet Place, the New York premiere of a full-length opera by Leonard Bernstein. If you can believe that sentence. But it's true - written almost thirty years ago, it's now making its debut in his hometown.
A Quiet Place is long-ish, and overstuffed with musical ideas and I loved it. The music is almost too beautiful and the performances are lovely, across the board. The first act takes place at a funeral, and it feels like every fucked up memorial service you've ever been to, only set to Bernstein music. (The chorus even sings at one point, "What a fucked up family!")
The staging is by Christopher Alden, one of my new favorite directors, after this and last season's Don Giovanni at City Opera. He's got a knack for staging that manifests the psychology of the characters, in ways that never seem obvious or ham-fisted. Or goes against the grain of the music.
I walked up to the window two weeks ago and got a twelve dollar ticket, fifth ring. (The acoustics there always sound better to me than fourth ring, further to the back of the house.) It's gotten rapturous reviews, but the place didn't look full to me. There are five more performances, so go and listen. This man was a giant and it's great to see this work getting its due.