Review: SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE FALLEN GIANT at Portland State University Opera

Keep an eye out for future productions by PSU opera.

By: Dec. 08, 2023
Review: SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE FALLEN GIANT at Portland State University Opera

Sherlock Holmes is about to get his most unusual case to date – a giant is dead and young Jack is accused of the murder. Will Holmes be able to figure out what really happened using solely his powers of logic?

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE FALLEN GIANT, a delightful new chamber opera composed by Evan Meier with libretto by E.M. Lewis, just finished up its Northwest preview at Portland State University Opera. Appropriate for opera newbies, opera aficionados, and all the rest of us in between, this classic detective-story-meets-fairy-tale truly has something for everyone.

The opera was commissioned by American Lyric Theatre with chamber orchestration commissioned by PSU. The show explores the power and also the limits of logic. As Sherlock Holmes famously said, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Even if that truth is that there’s a fairy tale world in the sky that is inhabited by giants and reachable by beanstalk.

Meier and Lewis must have both had a twinkle in their eye as they crafted this piece. The score is at times soaring, at times playful, and the libretto is funny while also tackling serious subjects, like loneliness and what we’ll do for family. There are also plenty of Easter eggs for opera lovers to discover.

The PSU opera students were fantastic! They not only sang gorgeously, but they also created wonderful characters – without the benefit of seeing what others had done previously, since this is a new show. The full cast was Andrew Walton as Sherlock Holmes, Johnny Derby as Dr. John Watson, Tayler Edwards as Jack, Xavier Davidson as Inspector Geoffrey Lestrade, Sequoia Robinette as Anne Bale, March Steiger as Zamira, Curtis Sutphin as Blunderbore, and Angela Tinio as Merilee. I expect we’ll be seeing several of them on professional opera stages before too long.

The musical ensemble was also excellent, and while there wasn’t much of a physical set, Megan Wilkerson provided creative projections that transported us from London to the fairy tale kingdom of Norwood and back again.

The run is now over – it was also sold out before it even started! But you can keep up with what’s happening in the PSU opera department here. Watch out for tickets for the spring show, The Merry Widow.



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