Martinu and an opera hunk

On Monday night we saw two short opera by Bohuslav Martinu at Henry Street Chamber Opera. We've seen all of their productions, and I can't recommend them enough. They do smart, well designed and directed operas with young casts that actually act -- opera as theatre, not the semi-staged concerts that pass for productions at the Met. One was a Dada opera from 1928 Paris, which included things like a young girl who falls in loved with a hanged man. The other, written in the more grim historical moment of 1935 Prague, was more of a fairy tale set in the forest, and featured Kathleen Chalfant as a rather arch narrator. I would watch that woman read a phone book. She has a voice that makes one realize what a trained voice really is, rather than the wimpy voices of actors that are only interested in TV or film.

On the way to the Lower East Side on the subway, we both noticed a very hot guy standing near us with a great speaking voice. Once we saw him again in the lobby, I heard people talking to him and realized he was David Adam Moore who was an incredibly sexy Aeneas in their production of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, complete with leather pants, a couple of tattoos, and a pierced nipple and belly button. Swoon.

We had a great dinner afterward, including a bottle of Alella, at AKA Cafe. Since it was the Monday before Thanksgiving, it was really quiet. The maitre d' reminded me of James Urbaniak, and the whole staff was attractive and smart. A strange guy, after finishing his meal, told them they better do something about Monday nights, or they weren't going to make it, since eventually every store on the block would be a restaurant. He described himself as an "impresario" who owned a restaurant in South Beach. It's the first time I've heard a person actually use that word outside of a period film.

The LES certainly has changed. I remember my friends in a Target Margin production at Nada (on Ludlow) telling me about a shootout over drug turfs one night during a performance. I first went to the neighborhood in 1989, to go have dinner at El Sombrero. I had just moved here from Texas, and my friends and I were researching every decent Mexican restaurant in the city. I lived in Chelsea, which wasn't exactly prosperous then ("excuse me sir/madam, but can I get in my building as soon as you're finished"), but going to the LES felt very "edgy".

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Published on November 27, 2002 12:01 PM.

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