The Romance of the Rose
An Opera by Kate Soper
Directed by James Darrah
Warner Grand Theater, Long Beach Opera, 2023
New York Time's Critic's Pick
Pulitzer Prize finalist Kate Soper's take on the namesake 13th-century poem as a boundary-breaking, thrilling opus that examines one Dreamer’s quest for a literal rose, The God of Love, Shame, Lady Reason and their cadre of followers lull the audience into a dreamlike world that deftly highlights the profound juxtaposition of beauty and absurdity in our own human folly.
"Darrah’s production is a mixture of scrappiness and chic, and emphasizes the otherworldliness of Soper’sconception. Prairie T. Trivuth’s set, lit starkly by Pablo Santiago, depicts the garden as a pristine white courtyarddotted with potted plants and, eventually, dripping with blood." — Zachary Woolfe, New York Times
"Soper’s garden would have amazed Kafka...That garden in this production (designed by Prairie T. Trivuth) is a modern, minimalist contemporary setting, versatile enough that it can be temporarily turned into a bar when needed." — Mark Swed, LA Times
"LBO has reimagined the high-walled garden scene within the poem’s text to “feel like an ‘80s living room,” LBO’s Artistic Director James Darrah said, fit with stark white tiles from stage floor to ceiling, a sunken seating area and a bar... Completing the set will be a special installation built into the audience that will be activated by performers throughout the show. Envisioned by scenic designer Prarie T. Trivuth, the installation continues the white-tile motif with a square pool featuring a 7-foot rose sculpture.Placing the rose in the audience was both a creative means of symbolizing the challenge of attaining the coveted rose and a way to emphasize Soper’s intentional breaking of the fourth wall within the opera, Darrah said. “I really wanted the audience to be immersed,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve worked on a premiere that has felt as unique as this one.”" — Cheantay Jensen, Long Beach Post
"The peripatetic nature of the play’s setting, which evolves from one island to another, is supported by the raked stage setup, as the stage’s sloping elevation is experimental in nature. Audiences can enter from four sides of the stage and feel immersed in the play, as the platform gradually rises to a height of 18 inches, he said. Through the use of white gauze screens, intricate set design and lighting choices, the play aims to create scenes of storm sequences and tranquil beaches through an interpretive lens" — Greggory Moore, Random Length News
Scenic Design by Prairie T. Trivuth
Costume Design by Molly Irelan
Lighting Design by Pablo Santiago
Sound Design by Carlos Mosquera
Production Manager Stephanie Lopez, Technical Director Anthony Arevalo, SM Eric Bridges, ASM Ruthie Geronimo, Stagehands Max Mineer and Tommy Garcia, Scenic Design Assistant Rye Mandel, Lighting Design Assistant Benedict Conran, Master Electrician Sara Nishida, Construction by Coffee House Industry.
Photographs: Jordan Geiger, Genaro Molina