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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Trade: Prototype


Abrons Art Center / New York / Stage

The operatic revolution continues apace. We’ve just found out that Boston Lyric Opera has shelved a planned Madama Butterfly. Instead, look forward to the yearlong “Butterfly Project,” chockablock with discussions and workshops designed to reveal “how the enduring classic might be more sensitively and accurately mounted in contemporary times.” The Prototype festival in New York, on the other hand, proceeds down its road of dreadnought innovation. Never look back! The 60-minute Trade—libretto by Mark O’Halloran, music by his niece Emma O’Halloran—plunks us down in a dingy Dublin hotel room, where two men are in the habit of meeting for secret sex. The older, who pays, has a wife at home. The younger, who takes money, has a baby to support. It’s complicated, and so are the players’ feelings for each other. Trade has come in for some advance praise. But will the O’Hallorans of the world put Puccini out of business? The way the culture wars are going, maybe they will. And then what will fill the void? —M.G.

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