Great – and delightfully strange – music and art will abound in Nashville this fall

Nashville Opera’s production of David Lang’s post-modern The Difficulty of Crossing a Field was such a big success last year that the company has decided to make avant-garde opera a regular feature of its season.

hat1Nashville Opera’s next operatic experiment explores the mysteries of the human brain in Michael Nyman’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (8 p.m. Nov. 8-9 and 2 p.m. Nov. 10 at Noah Liff). The work takes its humorous title from famed British-American neurologist Oliver Sacks’ best-selling book of the same name.

The opera focuses on the life of a certain Dr. P., a brilliant classical singer who suffers from a rare condition called visual agnosia. His brain is able to absorb a seemingly infinite amount of visual detail, but it can’t process any of this information into a coherent whole. So like a real-life Mr. Magoo, he makes absurd errors, like mistaking his wife’s head for a, well, you know. This production, like Difficulty, will be presented in an intimate black-box theater setting at the company’s Noah Liff Opera Center.

I write about the opera in this week’s Nashville Scene Fall Preview, and you can listen to one of the opera’s most affecting arias, “The River,” here.  The Scene’s other outstanding fall previews on theater, music, visual arts, books, etc., are well worth reading.

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About John Pitcher

John Pitcher is the chief classical music, jazz and dance critic as well as co-founder of ArtsNash. He has been a classical music critic for the Washington Post, the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, National Public Radio’s Performance Today (NPR), ArtNowNashville.com and the Nashville Scene. His writings about music and the arts have also appeared in Symphony Magazine, American Record Guide and Stagebill Magazine, among other publications. Pitcher earned his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he studied arts writing with Judith Crist and Phyllis Garland. His work has received the New York State Associated Press award for outstanding classical music criticism.