Deep Singing

Photograph by Xavier Guardans

DEEP SINGING The Dallas Opera premieres popular composer Tobias Picker's new English-language adaptation of Emile Zola's Thérèse Raquin this month, and it will sizzle. Picker, who gained a Texas following with such haunting pieces as Old and Lost Rivers and The Encantadas while serving from 1985 to 1990 as composer-in-residence with the Houston Symphony, says that when he began to read Zola's 1867 novel, he knew he had found his next subject. "Every page seemed operatic to me," explains Picker. Indeed. Thérèse Raquin has the requisite love triangle, complete with all manner of mayhem—sexual betrayal, spousal abuse, murder, and suicide—and the psychological depth of the lead characters calls for something more from the singers than just beautiful tone. Fortunately, the Dallas Opera has found true actor-singers in mezzo Sara Fulgoni, bass-baritone Richard Bernstein, and tenor Gordon Gietz—all noted for their dramatic talents as well as their voices. Could we be seeing the development of a trilogy devoted to tragic heroines? Picker premiered his Emmeline at the Santa Fe Opera in 1996 to enthusiastic reviews and has promised New York's Metropolitan a new piece based on Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy for 2004. Opera fans, stock up on those hankies. (See Dallas)

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