June 6, 2017

“Independence Eve” Receives its Premiere at Signature Theatre’s ARK Theater

by Michelle Bermudez '18

Associate Professor and Music Department Chair Sydney Marquez Boquiren’s chamber opera “Independence Eve” was praised in The Washington Post by music critic Anne Midgette, who describes it as a “small, punchy piece” with a lot packed into it.

The hour long opera premiered at Signature Theatre’s ARK Theater on Saturday, June 3. The chamber opera deals with the topic of race in America, with three separate scenes depicting an interaction between a black man and a white man. The three vignettes take the audience through time, at 50-year intervals, and attempt to be realistic in a way that is not hindered with the addition of the music.

 “In this particular case, the music was a mitigating factor:” wrote Midgette. “It provided a reassuring propulsive force through situations that were challenging and sometimes hard to watch — such as a young black man’s realization that his well-meaning white friend simply doesn’t get some basic things about racism, when he suggests that maybe he needs to see a shrink to get over his upset at being strip-searched in his apartment lobby.”

Midgette commended librettist Daniel Neer on his writing for what can be a tricky subject to condense into such a small form. She praised Boquiren on his distinctive musical score that seamlessly blends lyrical narrative and emotional tension.

“Opera doesn’t need to be obviously relevant to be important,” Midgette wrote. “But when one does take on a particularly topical subject, it’s nice to see it doing it justice.”

See the full review in The Washington Post.




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