Review and photos by Larry Wagner, Photographer and Itinerant Critic
I have had the delightful assignment of doing the publicity shots for the Mendocino Chamber Opera’s latest performance, The Tender Land. The Tender Land’s music was written by Aaron Copland with libretto by Erik Johns. The Chamber Opera has done a magnificent job of presenting this tidy little opera. The staging and lighting is wonderful, letting the magnificent cast carry off the story with feeling and beauty. The nice thing about this opera is that it is in English and totally understandable. It is the story of two itinerant workers who finagle jobs helping with the harvest at a small farm in the midwest. One of the workers, Martin, falls in love with Laurie, the doted upon (and smothered) granddaughter of the farmer, much to the farmer’s distress. The story is real, not like many of the classic opera tales which are absurd, but beautiful. Copland demands superb voice control and the cast pulls it off. Plus there is a wonderful dance scene involving the whole cast.
The show runs from this Friday through the following weekend at Helen Schoeni Theater (MTC). I think you will enjoy it. Call 937-4477 or 937-1018 for reservations.