[This review is based on mere snippets of the overall opera. The performance was part of the New Works Sampler at the 2012 Opera America Conference. Click here to find all of the works showcased at the conference or please find them at the end of this review.]
Wrapping up the evening was a new venture by American Opera Projects by composer Jack Perla and writer Rob Bailis. Love/Hate is a comical fantasia that seeks to expose love’s “old paradox for a new era” by wildly portraying all stereotypical situations of relationships and enacting them simultaneously. Each character has been given the ability to agree or disagree with the situation and resulting reaction. Take, for instance, George/Casanova sung by baritone Marcus Deloach. In one situation, he depicts a socially awkward man who tries to find the right words to woo Laura/”OMG” Girl, played by Rosalie Sullivan. She quickly gives him the cold shoulder and he turns to the audience and clumsily exclaims, “Confidence is everything, nobody likes a schmoe!” and gradually becomes more and more self-assured with each outburst.
The accompaniment, handled marvelously by Mila Henry, is clear to have much jazz and pop influence and is successful in creating a whimsical nuance for the fantasy. The situations are all quite hilarious, however, a point of awkward tension arrives when character Sex Guru uses modern slang to ornament his appreciation of a particular spot on a woman’s body. The music becomes pretty dumbed down at this point. Sex Guru is played by tenor Robert Mack. Mack has a seamless lyric tenor sound and sweet, poignant focus to boot. The Love/Hate example showed just enough to tease the senses. The final dissonant chord after the multi-situational quartet was perfect. It spawned out of a frenzied conglomeration of either “love” or “hate” choices by the characters and the dissonant quality suggests the unsure nature of each character’s decision – an ironic phenomena typical of human nature.
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