The Shadow of the Wave
The Gate (Cardiff, Summer 2011)
The Richard Burton Theatre (Cardiff, Summer 2011)
The Tete a Tete Opera Festival (Hammersmith, Summer 2012)
Composer/conductor: Tom Floyd
Librettist: David Spittle
Director: Deborah Cohen
Designer: Vicki Male
Adam – Roberto Abate
Alamar – Owain Browne
Anima – Justin Kim
Gala – Sarah Reddin
Scarlett – Dorothea Herbert
In claustrophobic proximity two couples find themselves in a conflict of madness and waking dreams. The Shadow of the Wave follows Alamar in his journey through ever more troubled waters.
“This Opera is a very well-made piece, with many features in common with the well-made plays that used to be common in the West End… The music of Shadow is attractive, mellifluous, continuous. There are two couples — sophisticated, articulate, heavy drinkers: one couple is an artist and tortured, and his wife; the other her neurotic sister and her businessman husband. As they get into various kinds of upset, they are accompanied by a 14-piece orchestra. There is also a mysterious figure, Anima (sung by Justin Kim) who watches the proceedings and periodically sings eerily about them; in some ways he is the most striking feature of the work.
The music of Shadow is attractive, mellifluous, continuous. As usual, I couldn’t resist thinking which better-known composers it was like, and the nearest I came was Tippett, but that may be because of the subject-matter. Though the orchestra played alongside the action, it never drowned it, and the singers, mostly articulating with a clarity I’ve always hoped for, gave maximum value to David Spittle’s fluent drama. The role of Scarlett, the seductive and unbalanced sister-in-law, was impressively well performed in all respects by Dorothea Herbert; she alone had a lengthy and demanding solo, and made me want to see her in something I know, though I’d have been happy to see Shadow again if it hadn’t, as Tête à Tête operas do, had to give way to the next show.
The Spectator ****