VINES Loose, Wet, Perforated
Commissioned by the Boston-based experimental opera company Guerilla Opera and premiered in 2011, Nicholas Vines’s highly resourceful pocket opera (four singers and four instrumentalists) may only find total satisfaction on stage. This studio recording is dazzling nonetheless, suggesting an everybody’s opera destined for the street, where it could theoretically take place and where the sex appeal of its heady musical eclecticism lies.
With only two exquisite instrumental interludes to interrupt the 67 minutes of intense dialogue, Vines wields a wonderful toolkit of insinuating words and rhymes – ‘Is laughtering … Drissy drismess oose … Lurkinoolly nal freeds …’, answered by ‘Ugh, oh dear … shame she creamed so poorly’ – and punctuates them with quick, deft touches including lyrical woodwind riffs and Wagnerian brass.
Brian Church’s Wet commands the drama with his baritone of velvet beauty and pure intonation. Aliana de la Guardia’s Loose lets loose dizzying flights of virtuosity, highlighted by screaming riffs so painful that you want them to simultaneously stop and never go away. Thea Lobo’s very lovely mezzo accommodates a variety of roles with surpassing ease. Doug Dodson inhabits the alien mind of Perforated so effectively that you wonder what he would have done with one of the other roles – oh, didn’t I tell you? Loose, Wet, Perforated is a story that ends with the characters rotating roles and beginning all over again.
No less amazing is the band, led by Amy Advocat on clarinets and Chris Moore on trombone. Recorded at the beginning of last October, it’s all clear and incisive but slightly dry. The booklet notes and indispensable libretto are available online.&