Oh Alfred! Opera
Approximate running time: 2 hours
3800 33rd Street
Vernon BC V1T 5T6
Oh Alfred! (Opera in 2 Acts) Music by Antony Knight. Libretto by Alex Allen
Oh Alfred! follows a clairvoyant named Latimer, a resentful and frail young man who has spent many years of his life in boarding school. After years of estrangement, his family surprises him with news that his brother, Alfred, is engaged with a young woman named Bertha. However, the couple requests more than just his attendance — they’d like one of his visions as a wedding gift, one to confirm their eternal love in the eyes of the community.
The dark and psychological plot, inspired by characters and moments from George Eliot’s “The Lifted Veil,” shows equal parts comedy and tragedy. The opera leans heavily into conventional tropes in order to create an over-dramatic and even farcical atmosphere, later twisted in a sinister turn of events. Librettist Alex Allen crafts this mood via an archaic pastiche of Victorian English, verging at times on ridiculousness, though never far from passion and eloquence.
The music of Oh Alfred!, composed by Antony Knight, uses short, fast-changing musical sections spanning many genres and textures: jazz, folk, pop, musical theatre, and Irish traditional, just to name a few. Additionally, Knight employs various homages to operatic styles in order to amplify the farcical nature of the story. These various elements work to develop characters’ identities, identities that evolve and morph as textures and motifs become altered and exchanged.
Rachel Park, soprano Ian Cleary, tenor Alireza Mojibian, baritone Matthew Kim, baritone Graham Vink, piano Dana Hudson & Vince Walzak, spoken roles