When Adonis Calls

When Adonis Calls (world premiere Asheville Lyric Opera, Thompson Street Opera, 2018)

Chicago Theatre Review:

“An important contributor to Chicago’s deliciously rambunctiously storefront opera scene, Thompson Street Opera has given Chicago an important production of When Adonis Calls. A tight, yet leisurely, ninety minutes of opera that leaps from the score of composer Clint Borzoni set to the sexy, philosophical meanderings of “The Naked Poet” Gavin Geoffrey Dillard as curated and shaped by director/choreographer/librettist wunderkind John de los Santos, the piece is scored for two baritones, two male dancers, a string quartet, and percussion, a heady and distinctive bouquet that the creators use to full benefit.

Borzoni mirrors, then elucidates Dillard’s jagged-then-lush free verse, wondrously specific to near didacticism then suddenly heightened, with a contemporary score that, upon musicological examination, answers all the requirements for today’s opera music, its forms and compositional-themeology sharp, nearly terse at times, then profiting hugely by a sweeping lyricism that must be making Richard Strauss misty in his grave. Set into five vignettes which de los Santos labels “Exchanges,” this trio of art-makers lead us into a relationship between two seemingly disparate souls as they fire and transform each other, at first sparring and jostling, gradually beginning to take on the other’s characteristics as they open each other’s hearts, then returning to themselves with new understanding.

One of the greatest strengths of When Adonis Calls lies in the creation of a libretto/concept by de los Santos, including the addition of dancers to act as reflections of the protagonists/antagonists.”