Every Fall here in Barcelona a festival of what they call "pocket operas" is put on. This is sort of anyother term for chamber opera, but there is included in it an implication of opera performed in a non-traditional space (though the production I'm going to talk about is not an example of this). The type of works they include in the festival are very similar to AOT productions, so you can understand my interest.
Tonight I went to the "little theater" of the National Theater of Catalunya. The word was a new opera titled "Salo d'Anubis o L'Academia de Lili & Dante". It was written by festival director Toni Rumbau and Catalan composer Joan Albert Amargos. The opera was in Catalan, which I don't by any means speak, but which is close enought between French and Spanish so I could understood almost all of it. The conceit was that of a magic show in which a man (actually a planted tenor) from the audience is selected and throughout the shows shrinks (well actually he is cut in half, and then decapatated, etc) into death. He learns to accept death as part of life and the show ends with he and his wife performing the opening monologue, but not as the magician and his assistant.
The space at the National Theater was really charming (would be great for baroque opera) and it was all and all a nice evening. The singers were quite good (soprano Monica Luezas, mezzo Marta Valero, tenor Toni Comas, and baritone Marc Canturri). The band was also quite sensitive at playing a score that was both interesting and fit the piece well. Most of the all the effect were well produced and it was a pleasure and adventure to watch.
It was a nice break from hard-core "Messiah" work to which now I must return.