Michael York, known for his illustrious stage and screen acting career, appeared in a double bill of unique works which blend music and storytelling. First, York performed Enoch Arden, Richard Strauss' setting of a Tennyson poem. Contrasting that work's melodrama, York narrated/sang H.K. Gruber's Frankenstein!!, whimsical, subversive poems for very bad children. Nasty monsters and monsterlets do nasty things. A jaunty John Wayne, Goldfinger, James Bond, Superman, Batman, Robin, Miss Dracula, a werewolf and a particularly mean-spirited rat cavort.
A rogue night Long Beach double bill isn't true opera, but it's nutty fun. Long Beach, at least aesthetically, remains an increasingly rare bastion of operatic innovation on the West Coast. On Saturday night, the Long Beach Center Theater -- scene of many of the company's triumphs but one seldom used for opera these days -- was not even vaguely opera-like.
Narrator and Chansonnier: Michael York
Puppets and Effects: Rogue Artists Ensemble
Lisa Sylvester: Piano
Conductor: Andreas Mitisek