Matthew Mirapaul

Matthew Mirapaul writes the arts@large coluymn for The New York Times.

Recent Articles

American Dream, American Opera

The Red Hook section of Brooklyn is only 20 miles from Manhasset Neck on Long Island, but the places stand worlds apart. Red Hook, as depicted in Arthur Miller's 1955 play A View from the Bridge , is a sturdy working-class neighborhood that depends on the nearby dockyards for its livelihood. Manhasset Neck, in its incarnation as East Egg in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1922 novel The Great Gatsby , is an enclave of wealth and privilege. Yet both literary settings reveal the boundaries of the American Dream: No matter how many opportunities for self-advancement may be here, society still dictates how those goals can be achieved. On the treacherous terrain of modern opera, contemporary American composers have been forced to confront their own peculiar version of these boundaries. Regardless of how many high-profile commissions they earn or how much esteem is lavished upon them by the critical elite, if they crave popular success--achieving a place in the standard repertoire--they must conform...