Best Opera Miami 2008 - David Carlson's Anna Karenina
It's crazy but true: Until 2007, nobody had thought to turn Tolstoy's book into an opera. Maybe that's because not a lot of Russians have composed operas, or maybe it's that setting so much familial intrigue to music is too daunting for composers of any nationality. Whatever the reason, it's nice that we were forced to wait for composer David Carlson. His music is dense, dark, and mysterious — just like the lives it is meant to illuminate in Anna — and given to occasional moments of glittering transparency that leap up out of nowhere and disappear back to the same place. A strong (if starless) cast of people who could act as well as they could sing — soprano Kelly Kaduce, with a lonely timbre and a diaphragm like a bazooka; sweet-voiced Sarah Coburn; the sensual Christian van Horn — gave Colin Graham's libretto all the dramatic punch it needed, and then some. In a year filled with good or great productions of canonical lollipops such as Manon Lescaut and Samson et Delila, Anna felt right at home.