Our ‘Phantom’ plays to sold-out houses; then there’s real opera | NevadaAppeal.com

Our ‘Phantom’ plays to sold-out houses; then there’s real opera

by Sam Bauman

“The Phantom of the Soap Opera,” opened last weekend at the Brewery Arts Center Black Box to sold out crowds. The original “Phantom” was never like this “Phantom,” which is a winning laugh. This murder mystery spoof of the famous “Phantom” story features the CHS Capitol Stars and is a musical Halloween treat for the Carson family. Catch it this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Seating is limited so get your tickets early by e-mailing KCHANDLER@carson.k12.nv.us. Tickets are $9 for general admission, $7 for children and students (with a Student Body Card), and $8 for seniors and other students. These high schoolsstudents know what they’re doing and offer a night of humor and fun.

THEN THERE’S REAL OPERA

Opera is probably pretty low on the “musst see” scene these days, but the Nevada Opera’s staging of “Aida” last weekend drew packed houses. In Reno this is as much a social event as a musical night, and the dress-up attire showed it – fancy gowns and black ties on a Sunday afternoon. It’s almost a given that the cast was talented: Claudia Waite (in blackface? thought we were over that) as Aida, Drew Slatton as Radames, Gwendoyln Jones as Amneris all sent the rafters ringing. Most of the audience was in or near the senior category, sadly, but some parents brought offspring as a bit of culture exploring.

MUSIC

So many CDs cross the desk that it’s hard to keep up, give each at least one listen. The group Lotus, recently playing in our area, put out a two-CD album “Escaping Sargosso Sea,” that holds up quite well. No screaming over a track of pure noise, this has some musiciality to it and is fine listening: Amorphous, constantly shifting style. Electro? Pop? Disco? World music? Lotus picks from all of the current musical world but obviously has its own style. No hard rock but fine music.

BOOKS NOTE

Recommended Stories For You

The old pros continue to to turn out fine novels, such aS “The Testament,” by John Grisham (Dell Publishing, 534 pages, $7.99 paperback). Grisham’s novels usually explore the world of lawyers and courts, and this is no exception. But rarely has he gone so far in condemnation of the legal profession as here, where lawyers suborn witnesses, battle to control who gets to sue and legal indiference to reality.

Story is clever, a billionaire is dying and stages his final will and suicide cleverly to cut out his brood of offspring, all complete losers. Instead, after staging a sanity test on video by three shrinks, he signs one will for the tube, then whips out a handwritten one leaving his fortune to an illegitimate daughter who’s a missionary in the Brazilian wilderness.

A drunk lawyer in rehab is given the assignment of finding the woman and informing her of her $7 billion fortune. He takes on the job, flies to Brazil and goes on a bender, wakes up never to drink again. His search through the wilderness – no roads, no trains, no maps – is grinding and painful. But he finds Rachel, who turns out to be something of a saint, but she brushes him off, uninterested in money or signing any documents.

The plot twists and turns neatly with the lawyer falling in love with Rachel. He catches dengue fever and almost dies, but makes it back to New York. No more details are necessary, the story works out. The writing is steady, professional and free of four-letter words. The moral lesson is clear and Grishman winds up with perhaps his best work to date.

WEB UPDATES

Since we get a lot of entertainment news after this column closes, we’ve started a Web report, “Sam’s Best Bets,” for upcoming shows or other events. This is to appear Fridays on the our Web site, nevadaappeal.com. And we’ll cover more than this weekend’s fun as some like to plan ahead. Hope you find it useful.

Contact Sam Bauman at 881-1236 or Sbauman@nevadaappeal.com.