A review of a Jack Beeson opera by our Robert Croan who was a graduate assistant for him at Columbia in the late 50s:
Jack Beeson: "Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines." Kansas City Lyric Theater. Albany Records***Jack Beeson was 10 years old when the first Metropolitan Opera Saturday afternoon radio broadcast took place on Christmas Day 1931, and he credits that weekly tradition for inspiring his lifelong interest in opera. Now, Beeson has nine operas to his credit, along with a distinguished career as a Columbia University professor. "Captain Jinks" (1975) is one of his most entertaining and also touching works, because it is simultaneously a romantic comedy about a braggart who makes a bet that he will seduce an opera singer and then falls in love with her, and also a homage to opera in general -- in particular, Verdi's "La Traviata," the debut vehicle for this work's fictitious Aurelia Trentoni. There are musical quotations from Verdi at strategic moments in Sheldon Harnick's clever libretto, even a duet between Aurelia and Jink's mother that parallels the central duet in "La Traviata" Act 2. There are also several arias for Aureles (a coloratural soprano part sparklingly rendered by Carol Wilcox in this original cast recording, as well as a charming love duet and excerptable arias for the prima donna's agent, Col. Mapleson (Eugene Green) and her watchful uncle "Papa Bellarti" (Walter Hook). Tenor Robert Owen Jones makes the most of the title role, vocally and in portrayal of the character, while another tenor --George Livings -- steals the show (or at least the ear) every time he negotiates one of the numerous high Cs that Beeson assigns to the secondary but significant part of the critic from the New York Times.ROBERT CROAN
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