On the day that I left the University, I was able to watch an extraordinary Lyric Theatre production at the Tryon Festival Theatre! This is the first indoor concert I have seen. It was meant to be performed in the amphitheater outside Krannert, but rain caused it to move indoors. I loved being back in Tryon and seeing a show. The production was The Last American Hammer, a contemporary opera first produced in 2018 and written by composer Peter Hilliard and librettist Matt Boresi. Matt Boresi is based in Evanston, IL, and it was great seeing work by a fellow Illinois resident.
The opera is a striking social commentary and satire of extremism and paranoia in modern America. The main character, played by Lewis McAdow, is a conspiracy theorist who believes that the thirteenth amendment prohibits the government interfering in citizens’ lives. He is hiding out in a Toby Jug museum with the curatrix of the museum. They have developed an interesting relationship because they are opposite in many ways. A young FBI agent comes to check on the museum and a lot of interesting discourse follows between the three of them. The story is full of symbols of modern America and humanizes extremists while staying very critical of them. It is an interesting way of showing the factors which got America to the place it is currently.
The opera was excellently sung and acted by Lewis and Kara, who played the museum curator, and Thereza, who played the FBI agent. These were the only singers in the show! The orchestra also played a starring role. This bluegrass-inspired orchestra included mandolin and banjo. I adored the orchestra and the score! I thought it was very well written and left the show humming the songs. I hope to see this opera again one day and maybe even sing it.