JACK BEESON (b.1921): Sorry, Wrong Number (Patricia Dell [singer], Center for Contemporary Opera; Richard Marshall), Practice in the Art of Elocution (Wendy Hill [soprano/actress], Gerald Steichen [piano/actor]).
Catalogue Number: 06J078
Reference: TROY 1009
Description: An opera based on a 1948 radio play by Lucille Fletcher, Sorry, Wrong Number is a little murder mystery of the Roald Dahl 'Tales of the unexpected' type, in which a woman accidentally overhears a telephone conversation in which a murder is being plotted, of which she - and we - subsequently realise that she will be the victim. Her mounting terror as she fails to do anything about it through a farcical series of conversations with phone operators and the police is conveyed in music of immediate, dramatic content, tempered with a ready lyricism that renders the characters sympathetic and believable. Elocution is a comic drama for two characters, a soprano and a pianist, satirizing a particularly artificial 19th century method of practising performance techniques. In both works the music is tonal and instantly appealing, necessarily more central to the fabric of the first piece than the second, which relies as much on acting as music (and is treated to appropriately audible audience response).