Music: The Immolation of an Opera

Dominick Argento's new work has more trills than excitement

Near the end of her 20-min. mad scene, Miss Havisham cries out, "I am tired!" There is a derisive titter from the audience. They have sympathy for Soprano Rita Shane, who plays Miss Havisham. She has flung her voice valiantly through trills, runs, arpeggios, and sung paragraph upon paragraph of words that dwarf the great mad scene in Lucia di Lammermoor. But the audience is tired too, because this kind of listening, when most of the words are unintelligible, is also hard work.

Miss Havisham's...

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