The conflation of those two figures — a legacy of the Hollywood tradition embodied by Boris Karloff — is one of long standing, but Libby Larsen’s 1990 opera based on Shelley’s novel keeps them entirely distinct.In her 90-minute work, which gets a rare mounting beginning this weekend from the West Edge Opera, Larsen sets the role of Frankenstein as a tenor (in this production, singer Samuel Levine).The monster, meanwhile, has a scattered consciousness represented by video projections — the work of longtime company collaborator Jeremy Knight — and the singing of an offstage chorus.
NYS Entity Status
NYS Filing Date
OCTOBER 04, 2013
NYS DOS ID#
NYS Entity Type
DOMESTIC BUSINESS CORPORATION
2013 - LARSEN AUTO WORKS, INC.
AROUND THE WEB
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- West Edge’s ‘Frankenstein’ is a total stiff
By Joshua Kosman - Sunday Aug 13, 2017
There’s just one engaging three-minute segment in the unfortunate production of Libby Larsen’s “Frankenstein” that opened Saturday night at the West Edge Opera, but it’s a dazzler.Morgan does his signature move — a contortionist’s overhead wriggle of his arm, exploiting a shoulder joint that seems unmoored by any conventional ball-and-socket apparatus — and a wave courses through his body, and you can feel the galvanic excitement of life springing up where there had been none.To say anything complimentary about the piece requires a focus on Larsen’s orchestral writing, which boasts a few ingenious textural ideas — some spiky woodwind solos, a handful of pungent percussion passages — and which got a pointed rendition under the leadership of conductor Jonathan Khuner.Soon you have to contend with the work’s failure to take any kind of dramatic measure of its source material, Mary Shelley’s 1818 gothic novel (there’s no reference here to the Boris Karloff incarnation of the story, or even to kindly, feckless Herman Munster, who might have brought some welcome levity to the proceedings).Frankenstein’s sister Elizabeth (soprano Chelsea Hollow), his friend Henry Clerval (baritone Ryan Bradford), his kid brother William (boy soprano Rowan Whitney, awkwardly amplified for audibility) and the ship’s captain Robert Walton (bass-baritone Josh Quinn) mill around the stage yelling at Frankenstein or gasping in horror at his misdeeds.[...] the libretto in turn is set to uniformly undistinguished vocal lines — some a series of ungainly leaps and lunges, others so drab that the performers can lapse into spoken dialogue and back again without a listener noticing the shift.The one inventive aspect of Larsen’s opera is the idea of having the monster’s life presented as a video projection — the world as seen through his eyes — with orchestral accompaniment.
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