… Golden Age is a provocative meditation on the overlapping nature of sexual love and artistic creation. Both the artist and the lover strain to grasp what is ineffable, creating in one’s mind a beauty that can never be fully realized, much less tangibly enjoyed. …
Issue Categories Archives: Opera
Before Night Falls, the memoir by Reinaldo Arenas, gay Cuban novelist and poet, political dissident and prisoner, foe of Castro’s repressive regime, was published posthumously in 1993 to immediate acclaim. … Several of my gay friends were reading the book and enthusiastically recommended it to me. One of them finally put a copy in my hands and I read it; instantly drawn in, I too fell in love with Arenas and his story, so engagingly told, so full of adventure, vivid personalities, sex, escapes, suicides, betrayals. I was gushing about it to a friend who said, “Why don’t you turn it into an opera?” Reflexively, I said that was impossible: far too episodic, with way too many characters. How could Before Night Falls possibly be staged?
OPERA QUEENS are not in short supply, but gay men who love Lieder seem to be few and far between. The German word Lieder is the plural of Lied, which means simply “song.” But it has acquired a particular association, especially among English speakers, with the Romantic German art song. Mozart and Beethoven may be considered the earliest composers of Lieder, though the genre only came into its own with Franz Schubert, who was followed by Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Hugo Wolf, Richard Strauss, and others.