MICHAEL DAUGHERTY (b.1954): Jackie O.
Catalogue Number: 10L012
Description: Daugherty continues his exploration of American popular culture in all its aspects with an opera about one of its most iconic figures. Wayne Koestenbaum's libretto begins the story in 1968, with Jackie's public life beginning again after years of mourning JFK. Not a literal, biographical account, the work explores themes of the 1960s, and the central character's position as a celebrity icon of the social phenomena of the time. Act 1 brings together the title character, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Maria Callas, Onassis and Andy Warhol in a scene of high camp fame and celebrity. Act 2 focuses on Jackie's relationship with Onassis, and, via a scene based on the Orpheus myth which releases her from her backward-looking obsessive recollection of JFK, her hard-won freedom to escape manufactured fame (symbolized by an intrusive photographer) and return home to the USA. The music is a mélange of popular and contemporary concert styles, as usual; elements of popular music (of the 1960s type), musical theater and grand opera kaleidoscopically interchange, emphasizing characterization (Callas is operatic; Onassis sometimes operatic, sometimes a Rat Pack crooner; the chorus now of the operatic stage, now from Broadway, and so on). The popular appeal of Daugherty's style frequently conceals its sophistication, especially in matters of rhythm, the meter constantly jittery, jumpy and unpredictable. Filmed stage performance, unfussy but not especially sophisticated, though the minimal, pop-art inspired staging responds well to this treatment. Four short 'interviews' - more like prepared statements - by composer and three of the principals fill in a bit of background. Fiona McAndrew (soprano), Nora Sourouzian (mezzo), Simone Alberghini (bass-baritone), Paul Carey Jones (baritone), Ensemble del Teatro Rossini di Lugo, Orchestra del Teatro Communale di Bologna; Christopher Franklin. 16:9 widescreen. 5.1 Dolby Surround or 2.0 Linear PCM. NTSC Region 0. 93 min.