By Philippa Kiraly
If you haven’t already planned to go, and particularly if you are a singer, don’t miss Friday night’s final performance of “The Man in the Mirror.” It’s the light relief of the ongoing American Handel Festival, and a tour de force by tenor Ross Hauck.
Thursday afternoon he performed it at the Frye Art Museum, ably abetted by harpsichordist Phebe Craig, cellist David Morris and voices off: Steven Hoffman, Katherine Howell and Kali Wilson.
It’s a one-act pocket opera, maybe just a watch-pocket as it’s under 40 minutes, but you will sit there rivetted all that time as Hauck rushes into what is purported to be his dressingroom, clothes under arm—except for forgotten shoes—and attired at the start only in bright red boxers, to dress and warm up for a performance of “Messiah” as the tenor soloist.
Any singer will recognize what he is going through, from vocal warm ups, to physical exercises—yoga, anyone?—to the mental hangups of anyone suffering pre-performance nerves, and the vagaries of daily life as they flit through the mind.
No way am I going to spoil it for you by describing what goes on. Suffice it that the result is hilarious, Hauck has as expressive a face and body as voice, while tying a bow tie has never been more trying.
“The Man in the Mirror” (you, the audience, are the mirror) was composed by Ben Bernstein for the festival and these performances are its premiere.
The final performance, Friday night at 9.30 at the Sorrento Hotel, includes wine and dessert and is a fundraiser for the festival. http://www.americanhandelfestival.org for tickets.