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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Two Boys

Nico Muhly's first opera visits the brave new world of the Internet.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
A scene from Two Boys at the English National Opera.
The Met presents this production in 2013.
Image © 2011 English National Opera.
This is the United States premiere of the first opera by composer Nico Muhly. This energetic young American composer is best known to New York opera lovers for Dark Sisters, a resounding success at Gotham Chamber Opera in 2012. Two Boys, with a libretto by Craig Lucas recounts the real-life events of two teenagers whose chat-room existence led to a near-fatal stabbing. The production is designed by Bartlett Sher, and marks the Tony-winning director's fifth show at the Metropolitan Opera.
Mr. Muhly's score lures listeners into a cybernetic web of chatrooms, deceit and the story's bloody climax. The opera follows police detective Anne Strawson (Alice Coote) whose investigation of the complicated relationship these two students is accompanied by innovative digital projections that evoke the strange, nocturnal world of a life spent on-line.

This production, which bowed at the English National Opera in 2011 is a collaboration between director Bartlett Sher and 59 Productions, whose innovative visual imagery underpinned the recent Met production of Philip Glass's Satyagraha. The Glass connection is also reinforced by Mr. Muhly, who considers the older composer to be his mentor.

Two Boys stars up-and-comers Paul Appleby and Christopher Bolduc, mezzo-soprano Alice Coote and baritone Keith Miller. You can watch a two-minute trailer for the opera (which gives something of a handle on Mr. Muhly's music) here:

Two Boys opens Oct. 21 for just six performances.

Tickets for Two Boys are available at MetOperaFamily.Org, by calling (212) 362-6000, or at the box office starting August 11.

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