It’s a double-feature of one act operas, with death taking center stage, and hovering nearby. This weekend Left Coast Chamber Ensemble pairs the Kurt Rohde opera Death with Interruptions (which they premiered in 2015) with the West Coast premiere of Never Was a Knight… a monodrama based on the story of Don Quixote.

There’s more information at the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble website.

For Never Was a Knight…, Rohde enters the mind of the errant would-be knight. “It’s an imagining of what he’s experiencing moments before he dies. So rather than tell the story from left to right, so beginning to the end, it’s the back side of the story, circling around to the front, and sort of meandering back to the back side of the story. Sort of a very squiggly circle.” There’s only one principal character, sung by tenor Joe Dan Harper, but he interacts with the instrumentalists, who act as the chorus as needed. “The memories he’s experiencing are all of the characters that he has encountered throughout his life. And the chorus, rather than taking up the role of specific characters, are basically bits and pieces of those characters at important moments throughout the opera… So you’ll have phrases or lines that he’s either said or conversations that he’s remembering, sort of shot back to him, either in full, or in little fragments from the ensemble.” Harper returns in Death With Interruptions, joined by the choir Volti, and a small cast of singers. It tells the story of Death, personified, deciding to stop killing people, and falling in love. It’s based on a novel by Portuguese writer Jose Saramago, and was premiered by LCCE in 2015.

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