The Monster Opera
by Bob Bows
Every year at this time, we conjure monsters of all sorts to give ourselves a good fright and an excuse to indulge ourselves in gobs of refined sugar—which often turn out to be the same thing—but rarely does anyone give these ghoulish spirits their proper dramatic due.
|Erik Wilkins as Libretto Santiago
and Nancy Stohlman as Ursula Leonard
So, what better way to exalt our resident monsters than to present them in operatic form, as is so melodramatically accomplished in this delightful mashup, with book by Nancy Stohlman and score by Nick Busheff.
|Composer Nick Busheff|
In search of a scary plot for their next opera, Ursula Leonard (Stohlman), with the assent of her husband Hugo (Toby Smith), agree that she should go to Mexico City, where she discovers the hidden dark secret of Libretto (Erik Wilkins) and Magdelena Santiago (Marta Burton), once renowned opera singers.As the story grows inside of Ursula, so do the repercussions of the Santiagos’ sinister doings, until we arrive at a suitably horrific dilemma.
|Marta Burton as Magdelena Santiago
and Jonathan Montgomery as The Critic
Stohlman’s narrative and dialogue deftly dances away from pinpointing the source and nature of the evil running through the story, leaving that to our imaginations. Busheff’s score is a masterwork of haunting tunes and unnerving atmospherics that amplify the unfolding horrors. Wilkins’ and Burton’s operatic riffs are compelling and, in Burton’s case, intentionally hilarious.The Monster Opera will return next Halloween.