‘Oscar’ debut a flawless production

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By Melissa Riedel Espinoza

The Santa Fe Opera has long been known as an opera house that likes its Mozart, but also gives audiences an opportunity to experience contemporary offerings, including world premieres of works by such composers as Lewis Spratlan and Bright Sheng.
This summer, Santa Fe stages Oscar, a thought-provoking work by composer Theodore Morrison and librettist John Cox.
Oscar is the story of Oscar Wilde’s trial and imprisonment for gross indecency.
This story truly makes one think about personal freedoms and how much our society has progressed since Queen Victoria’s rule.
The title role was composed especially for countertenor David Daniels, and he does a magnificent job with this melismatic, vocally demanding role that requires a huge amount of on-stage time.
Daniels doesn’t just perform the role; he inhabits it, and his Wilde is a kind, gentle soul who suffers yet treats his fellow human beings lovingly.
The pain of his broken heart is apparent and he brings the audience right along with him as he dreams of the one he loves, who has been taken away from him.
Each member of the cast adds greatly to the overall color of this intense piece. Heidi Stober as Ada Leverson and William Burden as Frank Harris have great chemistry with Daniels and each other, and their voices fit their roles well.

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