<< -- 3 -- Maria Nockin VOCALLY AND VISUALLY SPECTACULAR
Another character whose appearance seemed Ring-related was Unferth, the
would-be hero played to the hilt by Jay Hunter Morris. Blonde and
muscular, he looked like he could defeat the monster but his character
lacked adequate courage and ran away when a laughing Grendel pelted him
with fruit. Unferth may not be Siegfried, but Morris, who sang Eric in
Arizona Opera's The Flying Dutchman, is a fine tenor who is quite
capable of singing Wagner as well as Goldenthal.
Laura Claycomb as Queen Wealtheow. Photo © 2006 Robert Millard
As The Shaper, a troubadour who put a pro-human, pro-mechanization slant on the news,
Richard Croft's lines were more lyrical than most. With its honeyed sound, his light voice
was an effective contrast to the bass tones of Grendel and the King. Appearing only in Act II,
Laura Claycomb as Queen Wealtheow flooded the hall with her radiant beauty and exquisite
high notes. Beowulf was portrayed by dancer Desmond Richardson as an enormously courageous
super-hero. He grasped Grendel by the arm and smashed his head, causing the monster
to hurl himself into the abyss.
Eric Owens as Grendel and Desmond Richardson as Beowulf. Photo © 2006 Robert Millard
The well trained chorus of William Vendice helped bring to life the power of this piece
while Goldenthal's unusual orchestration was underscored by the rhythmically alert conducting
of Steven Sloane. Art is not always pretty or melodic and this piece is neither, but it
certainly does command the attention of a serious audience.
Copyright © 18 June 2006
Maria Nockin, Arizona USA
LOS ANGELES OPERA