An opera to blow you away! The Cincinnati Opera each season presents one relatively unknown and often new to our town opera. This season, it’s the Cincinnati premiere of The Flowering Tree, sung in English and based on an ancient South Indian folk tale.
It was written by John Adams, who created Nixon in China, which news nearly caused my friend Mary to give her ticket away. I was quick to point out the 20 years in between writing the one and then the other, and that fact that this opera is a love story with a happy ending. (All is not happy throughout, of course – it is opera, without a doubt.) (And I loved Nixon in China – discordant and so powerful.)
I loved every bit of it – the staging, the lighting, the costumes, the mystical story – and those glorious voices, backed up by a wonderful chorus and dancers from the Cincinnati Ballet. There are only 3 singers in the opera – the Storyteller, the Prince, and Kumudha, the beautiful and magical girl from a poor family. The rest of the action is told by the chorus, and, oftentimes, wordlessly, by the dramatic movements of the dancers. They bring about and then show us Kumudha’s transformations. The music itself is powerful, often romantic. And the impossibly sad middle of the story is only bearable because we know it will come right in the end.
Another triumph by our great opera company.