“What’s thirst got to do with drinking?” A valid point, and the only clear thought in “A Wedding, ” the disappointing new opera directed by Robert Altman, based on his 1978 film of the same name. Like the exaggerated tiers of a wedding cake, the storylines pile up like so much starch, weighing down on what should be a light and frothily absurd affair. The groom is a Lake Forest playboy named Dino (a bland character, sung blandly by Patrick Miller), his bride is Muffin (Anna Christy, in an equally dull performance), the daughter of a tacky, nouveau riche Southern evangelic. The reception, wherein the two families mix uncomfortably, is where the bulk of this meandering story takes place. Infidelities are proposed, small talk is peppered with insults, and all the while, granny is upstairs, dead as a doornail and getting stiffer by the minute. Your mind strays quickly and small discrepancies become obsessions. When, for example, is this supposed to take place? At one point, a pair of would-be adulterers sing of meeting at a motel near the Dairy Queen (that duet, by the way, is musically and lyrically the opera’s highpoint). Later, the groom’s uncle arrives from Italy looking like he just stepped off Ellis Island, circa 1900. Later yet, another relative shows up decked out like a 1920s career gal. None of it makes sense. Which wouldn’t matter a hoot if composer William Bolcom’s score were spectacular. It is not. The musical phrases that do manage to catch your ear end or change direction with such dispatch, you have little to grasp onto and savor. Save your money and rent the movie instead. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.