<< -- 2 -- Maria Nockin VOCALLY AND VISUALLY SPECTACULAR
The monster Grendel, sung by bass Eric Owens, was in some ways more human than
the people in the story. He was almost always on stage, telling his tale, philosophizing,
throwing out punch lines and occasionally lapsing
into the mindless violence for which he is best known. Owens sang this
marathon role with great energy and distinctively colored tones, although
there was often little orchestral support for his vocal line.
Denyce Graves as the Dragon. Photo © 2006 Robert Millard
This opera has two major bass roles. The second is that of King Hrothgar
and it contains lower notes than those customarily sung by operatic
performers. Charles Robert Austin, a commanding personality on stage, sang the
difficult tessitura with accuracy and seeming ease. He also got
to drive a fascinating clockwork tractor.
Eric Owens as Grendel and Jay Hunter Morris as Unferth. Photo © 2006 Robert Millard
Denyce Graves had only a cameo part as the dragon, but she was
spectacular both vocally and visually as she ventured forth from the enormous
creature's mouth. Her voice was joined by those of Maureen Francis, Hanan Alattar and
Jessica Swink, the soprano trio who inhabited the monster's tail. Since this dragon
advises the hoarding of gold, it seemed to be related to Fafner in Richard Wagner's
Ring Cycle, as did several other characters in Grendel.
Copyright © 18 June 2006
Maria Nockin, Arizona USA