Opera’s ‘Fellow Travelers’ ranks among 2016’s best

Cincinnati Opera’s world premiere of “Fellow Travelers” scored a spot in The New York Times’ “Best of 2016” Arts & Leisure listings.

The list, compiled by Times’ critics who write about Classical Music, Movies, Television, Pop Music, Dance, Theater, Art, Podcasts and Performances, was published Dec. 8.

“Fellow Travelers,” by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce, was included in the  “best in classical music” category.

Based on Thomas Mallon’s novel about a love affair by two government workers in the 1950s, the story is set during the McCarthy era, when being discovered in a gay relationship could lead to job loss or worse.

The opera’s premiere in June proved “uncannily timely,” noted Times critic Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, “coming days after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.”

Yet, despite its political significance, she wrote, “what makes ‘Fellow Travelers’ such a satisfying operatic experience is the old-fashioned combination of a swift-flowing and deft libretto and gorgeous music. Mr. Spears has the rare gift of artful plunder, knowing how to pluck stylistic elements from earlier centuries and weave them into a sleek and propulsive score that is accessible but unmistakably modern.”

Cincinnati Opera plans to release a full audio recording of the opera in spring 2017.

New York Times “Best of 2016″ listings

Read the Times review.

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