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Thomalla and Clover’s ‘Dark Spring’: Will You Listen?

Hans Thomalla
Hans Thomalla

In all honesty, I received the assignment to review this opera in late September. That’s when I should have listened, but I didn’t. Life got in the way. Would it really have mattered? Would you have listened? Would you have watched? Do you, the audience, now shutter at the thought of being passé? I doubt it. This opera is now months old; deal with it.

Does anyone still care about new opera? In front of you is Hans Thomalla and Joshua Clover’s new opera Dark Spring. Will you listen? It runs an hour and a half…  that’s probably the length of your favorite movie. Forrest Gump isn’t much longer. The link can be found below. Will you watch it? Can you truthfully say that you like opera that much?

Regarding the opera, it’s brilliant. From the downbeat the mastery of orchestration that Thomalla wields is evident. Throughout, he provides the right instrument/instruments for the moment. Not only that, but he is supremely egalitarian in his orchestration; never giving you too much at once. This skillset, rare in the day of “do it or bust opera”, is especially marked in its relation to piano (particularly the extreme ranges of the instrument). This truly natural compositional grace and patience makes

Joshua Clover

 its way to the high brass, strings, and percussion. Bernstein-esque in all aspects, the orchestration creates its own tight-knit and knitty-gritty orchestra; this, above all, sets the work apart.

Within any opera, the voice part is sacred. The counterpoint between the voices is beyond mention. It is so well done that I won’t review it; you have to listen. If you don’t, you don’t. The link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfo9OfwQMHY.

When I started writing reviews someone told me the most negative thing I could do was leave something unsaid. My concision is a compliment. The composition, execution, and performance are unparalleled; I have nothing negative to say. Congrats to Thomalla and Clover. Will you listen?



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