MOSES IN SAN FRANCISCO

DESPITE AN EFFORT TO TURN HIM INTO A LEGEND, HARVEY MILK WAS NO OTHELLO OR WOTAN, AND HIS LIFE MAKES FOR UNINSPIRED OPERA

SEVEN YEARS AGO, COMPOSER JOHN ADAMS, librettist Alice Goodman and director Peter Sellars rocked the opera world with Nixon in China. A number of provocative operas based on the lives of the still living or recently deceased followed, and now composer Stewart Wallace and librettist Michael Korie continue the trend with Harvey Milk, currently in its maiden run at the Houston Grand Opera. But where Nixon took someone who had become a cartoon devil and made him into a man, Harvey Milk takes a fairly ordinary man and makes him into a cartoon saint.

Milk was a gay politician in San...

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