Gonzo Opera

by Julian Sanchez

I'm half tempted to hop a train to Philly for the weekend to check out The Gonzales Cantata, a concert opera in which the former attorney general's gruelling 2007 hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee are set to music and sung by a gender-inverted cast. It sounds sort of like Henry Purcell filtered through late John Adams, if that's your sort of thing. Honestly, I think more fertile material would've been the earlier NSA wiretap hearings, where Alberto Gonzales' persistent and repetitive evasions already sounded a bit like some kind of looping Philip Glass chorus. (Update: Apparently, there is an "I Don't Recall" aria.) Still, I'm almost shocked something like this hasn't been done before: as composer Melissa Dunphy points out in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, congressional hearings provide a unique mix of mannered formalism and absurd grandstanding that are ideally suited to operatic adaptation. 

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