The Game’s Afoot With American Lyric Theater’s Opera About Sherlock Holmes
By Miles Harter, Contributing Writer, March 15, 2017
Musical arrangements that combine two styles can be charming and surprising. The TV series Glee periodically featured clever combinations of songs from different eras and singers. In one smart mash-up, the cast merged two classic songs both called Cherish — the 1960s Association hit and the 1980s Madonna hit. While on another occasion singers performed the iconic mash-up arrangement of two classics made famous with Barbra Streisand singing “Happy Days are Here Again” and Judy Garland singing “Get Happy.”
Drama that integrates different time periods also can be highly entertaining, like the acclaimed TV series Sherlock (produced by the British network BBC and the American station WGBH Boston). Introducing a present day Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, Sherlock is based on the stories and characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle in the novels and short stories that he published between 1887 and 1927.
In a quintessential example of genre busting, the American Lyric Theater is bringing Sherlock Holmes to life in operatic form—Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant. This opera, which is being promoted “for the entire family,” is a mash-up of fairy tales and detective stories, relayed in a “playful libretto.” The composer, Evan Meier, enthuses about an invention of “the musical world of Victorian-era Baker Street” that will “stand in stark contrast to the fantastical fairy-tale into which our mystery leads.” The librettist, E.M. Lewis, says that she and Mr. Meier are bringing Doyle’s “iconic heroes into a place that has held onto its sense of fairy tale wonder and infinite possibility.”
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant was commissioned by the American Lyric Theater and developed under the auspices of the Composer Librettist Development Program, Lawrence Edelson, Producing Artistic Director. The production features Daniel T. Curran as Sherlock Holmes, with Sharleen Joynt, Jennifer Black, Blythe Gaissert, Steven Eddy, David Kravitz, and Jorgeandrés Camargo, with conductor Ari Pelto.
Cover: Daniel Curran; photo: Megan Gay