The Rogue Music Project is a five piece collective focusing on opera and classical music. The group includes CapRadio classical hosts Kevin Doherty and Jennifer Reason, plus Sarah Fitch, Omari Tau, and Carrie Hennessey. This weekend they’re performing the 1952 opera by Hugo Weisgall called “The Stronger” in a unique setting -- Magpie Cafe in Sacramento.
Director Omari Tau describes the show in a program note this way:
Premiering in 1952, Hugo Weisgall’s The Stronger began as an experiment. Even with the brilliant Dominick Argento at the keys, chain-smoking, and serving as prompter, he couldn’t find success with his original Estelle. After some work on the score and recasting the role, the piece has remained his more frequently performed opera.
Richard Hart’s adaption of the play by August Strindberg captures Estelle’s descent into paranoia and posturing. Strindberg’s notion that characters could have multiple motivations for their actions was new. It feels real and new again in the Weisgall-Hart creation with music that seems equally taut and elastic, tonal and atonal, rhythmic and recitativo.
Presenting the work in an actual restaurant provides the right sort of purgatory for Estelle: eyes watching, judging, silent.
You can see Rogue Music Project perform “The Stronger” at Magpie Cafe on July 19, 20 and 22. Ticket information and details are on the event page.