A view to a fresh start
CONRAD WILSON [Herald-Times, 21 Feb 05]
With the major success of his latest opera for Chicago, William Bolcom is America’s musical man of the moment. Yet in Britain he is scarcely a name. A Wedding, his new hit, is based on Robert Altman’s famous film of the same title, then at least we should be aware that he is aslo [sic] the composer of A View from the Bridge, an opera inspired in 1999 by the original blank verse version of the play by Arthur Miller who died last week.
Miller himself gave Bolcom’s opera his blessing, and took pains to assist Arnold Weinstein, the composer’s established librettist, in preparing the text. That, in itself, was no guarantee of a new masterpiece. Indeed, as with so many adaptations of plays and novels, the music could merely have got in the way of the words – which, for many people, was what happened to Sophie’s Choice when the English composer Nicholas Maw got his hands on it. Before writing A View from the Bridge, Bolcom asked himself three questions: “Am I just gilding the lily? Is it worth doing?”
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