I thought the sets for SÉANCE was excellent, and the singers were enthusiastic, but the work suffered from the fact that Schwartz also wrote the libretto, and it probably would have been more successful as a one-act. I like an evil female protagonist, but if you have one it's a good idea for the opera to end promptly once she does the deed. Instead Schwartz tests audience sympathy with a prolonged ghoulish and sentimental denouement. The staging of the finale brought to mind the Zimmerman "Lucia" but instead of the triumphant tragic love of a skittish virgin bride, it is that of a clingy mom.Mark Adamo's contemporary dual-threat success doesn't change the overall history of composers' libretto attempts letting down their own music.
It's been a strange year at NYCO, neither popular nor particularly ambitious. There were, of course, budget issues, but if the new administration has a coherent and memorable vision for the place, it hasn't appeared yet. Nor, in fact, has next season's lineup -- except for the Rufus Wainwright announcement.