Two Boys Reviews Are In – Audiences Rave, Critics Bored

Nico Muhly's first opera, Two Boys, opened this weekend at the English National Opera.(Photo: http://www.twoboysopera.com/)
Nico Muhly's first opera, Two Boys, opened this weekend at the English National Opera.(Photo: http://www.twoboysopera.com/)

Last week we wrote about the much anticipated premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, which opened at the English National Opera this past weekend.

An opera for the Facebook generation, Two Boys takes up pervasive questions for the digital era involving web citizenship and identity.

The opera resonates for the very same reasons it disappoints — its musical realism.

Here’s what the critics had to say:

Most seem to agree that Muhly’s opera drags a bit — or a lot.

Several critics (like The Independent’s Edward Seckerson and The Washington Post’s William Robin) were impressed with the technique employed by Muhly first in his album Mothertongue, and now duplicated in this opera, in which words are layered to create a wall of sound — the kind of gibberish you might imagine if you could overhear the conversations in all the chat-rooms across the web all at once.

But some argue that the musical realism that defines much of the score, makes the opera as superficial as a chat-room conversation.

Many critics also agree that what the opera lacks is “a sound melodramatic structure,” to match its colorful musical (and visual) pyrotechnics.

The Post’s William Robin’s final word, though, is that Two Boys is an impressive “freshman opera” for Nico Muhly.

Audiences seem to agree. Watch this interview with audience members after the show as well as clips from opening weekend performances.

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