The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Urban Arias

Based on the famous novella by Oliver Sacks

On Saturday, Oct 22 our group attended Urban Arias’  “A Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”. Urban Arias has made a national name for itself by producing short, contemporary operas with outstanding musical direction.

The questions I was left with after the performance are:

Why was this work, developed from the original book by Oliver Sachs, performed as an Opera?

Did the music support and move the story forward?

Was the music integral to the story?

Please leave your thoughts to continue the conversation online. Thank you.

Duane Gelderloos

2 comments on “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Urban Arias”

  1. Susan

    I did not see this show although I have liked much that Urban Arias has tackled in the past. It sounds as if the balance was off between orchestra and singers. It takes a strong working relationship between Stage Director and Conductor/Music Director to get this balance right. I have liked some of Michael Nyman’s music but I think he tends to be known for his atmospheric approach rather than using music to move things forward dramatically.

  2. Robert Darling

    This work interested me since it was first performed at Santa Fe. The Q&A after illuminated somewhat — where we were siting did not — alas. The human voice being highly directional was not served well in the very wide set-up of the space. Sitting as we were on the same side as the orchestra it overwhelmed the singers. It was difficult to sense how effective the work in fact was. The novella I do not know, the discovery posed by the Dr. might make a case for this as a work of music theater, but ultimately left me still curious and unsatisfied. The music enjoy some very effective and evocative interludes,beautifully played and scored while much of the action’ was underscored with Phillip Glass inspired almost minimalist and ostinato underscoring which for me produced a nervous effect. A notable and enjoyable exception was the Schumann quote which was well performed.

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