In the Penal colony
Cyclorama, Boston Lyric Opera
by Philip Glass, libretto by Rudolph Wurlitzer
based on the Story by Franz Kafka
directed by R.B. Schlather, music director Ryan Turner 
lights JAX Messenger,  costumes Terese Wadden, wigs make-up Jason Allen,
surtitle designers  John Conklin and Allison Voth
Cast
Officer  David McFerrin
Visitor   Neal Ferreira
Man      Yury Yanowsky
 
Reviews
Mr. Schlather’s inspirations were Minimalist artists like Dan Flavin and Richard Serra, and the staging is mostly abstract, set at eye level by Julia Noulin-Mérat. He still makes clear that we are in a prison: The musicians and their conductor, a less-than-incisive Ryan Turner, parade to their places in convict uniforms before the music begins. But Kafka’s meticulously described apparatus is mostly absent, barring some light bulbs hung from the ceiling that evoke the needles that the machine uses to punish its prey....
Even the text breaks down: The projected supertitles, set in a coder’s font and all lowercase, flicker between lines of libretto, with the letters in words often missing as the Officer’s hopes are increasingly dashed. They gain grammatical precision only when he dies.
Yet Mr. Schlather makes good use of this reverberant space, which is clad in red brick, covered in ventilation pipes and rises to a dome.
Boston Lyric Opera's 'In the Penal Colony', a Surreal Exploration of Injustice By David Allen
New York Times
 
The production took full advantage of the immersive possibilities offered by the 360 degree industrial visual environment, the vast dome soaring above the stage. Kafka’s original story, and the opera’s libretto, take place on a sweltering tropical island, but this penal colony was visually frigid. JAX Messenger’s lighting was harsh and fluorescent, Julia Noulin-Merat’s sets as stark and minimalist as Glass’s score. 
Alien Justice Chills Cyclorama by Zoe Madonna
The Boston Musical Intelligencer
 
On the whole, director R.B. Schlather’s production was as minimal as the music, with mostly slow, stylized action and a set reminiscent of contemporary art installations.  The enormous polygonal space of the Cyclorama–a Victorian-era brick structure built to exhibit the gigantic paintings that were a popular entertainment at the time—was bisected by a ten-foot-high, featureless, angled wall like a Richard Serra sculpture. The only other conspicuous element in designer Julia Noulin-Mérat’s monochrome set was a steeply raked ramp lifted about four feet above stage level.
Boston Lyric Opera probes the modern psyche with Glass’s “In the Penal Colony” By David Wright
The Classical Review
 
 
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