22 Dec 2005
Tragic Indeed — An American Tragedy is yet another contemporary-opera-by-the-numbers rehash
By Peter G. Davis [New York Magazine, 26 December 2005]
The Lit 101 school of American opera continues to proliferate. Little Women, Of Mice and Men, The House of the Seven Gables, Sophie’s Choice, The Last of the Mohicans, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Rappaccini’s Daughter—the list of ambitious operas based on all those classic novels you read in school (or were supposed to) goes on, even if the success rate has been marginal. Right now, the Metropolitan is presenting the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy, adapted from the 1925 novel by Theodore Dreiser. Not that long ago we were debating the merits of John Harbison’s operatic version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Can a Met production about a great white whale be far off?