Sunday, August 19, 2007

Golf and Opera

Okay, you opera buffs, the second act of what opera ends with the following event?
Shepard hits a couple of golf balls and Mitchell throws an improvised javelin.
Give up? You should, since unless you’re really into obscure American operas, you won’t know that this comes from an opera D C Meckler composed at the beginning of this century called Apollo 14: a space opera.
Meckler’s opera is about three men who land on the moon (where one plays golf, briefly), and about the dramatic contrast between their reactions to the space travel. `Mitchell began to rethink the potential of human consciousness. Shepard’s reaction was more about satisfaction and achievement after years of work and frustration, all topped off by the first golf swing on the lunar surface. Roosa said he was unchanged by the experience.’
The opera has never been performed in its entirety, yet, but sections of it have been showcased. There are female parts in it too: Shepherd and Mitchell have ‘inner voices’ sung by sopranos.
And if you thought no other opera was likely to include golf, then think again. Joyce Whitelaw and Eddie Orton wrote Íl Giocatore,'' around the same time as Meckler was working on his opus, and it requires the cast not only to sing about golf, but to play the game in one scene that’s set in the Loch Lomond Golf Club. It was first performed in the Julia Morgan Theatre, Berkeley on Nov 14th, 2000.
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