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Original opera ‘Under the Rainbow’ celebrates gay marriage

Audiences flock to Valencia College production despite ginned-up conflict

Photo: Seth Kubersky, License: N/A

Seth Kubersky

Musically, Gerber constructs a mix of classically flavored songs using Harold Arlen’s immortal “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (especially the familiar bridge, which is transformed into a recurring theme) and the traditional hymn “Amazing Grace” as building blocks. Some of the melodies pack a Puccini-esque punch, and they were elevated by excellent performance from all of the featured vocalists, led by Lizardo’s emotionally expressive soliloquies. I’m not certain if Gerber was attempting some excitingly atonal harmonics or if the string section was just badly out of tune, but this may have been a rare instance where synthesizers might have been more effective than amateur live musicians. Incidentally, I counted approximately the same number of musicians on stage as were listed in the program, so televised predictions of mass defections seem not to have

Dramatically, Under the Rainbow doesn’t have the running time to develop its plot or characters into anything more than Lifetime-movie caricatures. There’s potential for catharsis in the subject matter, but it isn’t fully mined because the two main characters never speak (or sing, as it were) to each other. Kevin kvetches to his fiancé, Catherine carps to Christ and bystanders on both sides sling barbs, but Kevin and his mom are never face to face until their mute meeting at the very end. Perhaps that’s the perfect emblem for this well-intentioned production and others like it: two sides talking about each other instead of engaging in dialogue.

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