On Saturday evening, The Santa Fe Opera offered the world premiere of Oscar, a two-act work by Theodore Morrison, who penned the libretto jointly with the British opera director John Cox.
Prior to Oscar, SFO had premiered 13 operas since its founding in 1956. Most were launched in a flurry of excitement and optimism but then receded from view, living on as minor footnotes to operatic history. The 14th opera on the list has an excellent chance of following this time-honored tradition. It will at least be repeated in 2015, when it figures on the schedule of Opera Company of Philadelphia, which jointly commissioned it with Santa Fe. I don’t doubt that the countertenor David Daniels, who the work was written to showcase, will put his shoulder to promoting it beyond then; and he may be joined in that effort by other countertenors because it provides them with an extended starring role. But in the long run, an opera must sink or swim on its own merits, and I must leave it to others to be hopeful about the buoyancy of this one.
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