The Rock Performs - Judith Yan
"Inquiries confirm that all Newfoundlanders know the story of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel but it was still a surprise to hear a new work so cheerfully martial that it sounds as if it could have predate the Great War. While Ours showed corpses and damaged survivors, and it even had an explosion of anti-imperial anger, these complications were overwhelmed by anthems to spilled blood beat out in march time. “Wretched … but after today forgotten no more!” Nevertheless, the commission is a remarkable accomplishment for a regional company that produces one opera and one musical each year. Estacio has written an accessible, unpretentious score. If a line is to be noted, there will be a trumpet fanfare; and if there is a transition or a supernatural intrusion, there is also a harp glissando. Estacio reliably supports the singer instead of offering musical comment—except in one wry moment when a priest quits the church. It’s reminiscent of the frankest of silent film scores, or Mosfilm circa 1936. Chafe’s libretto can be beautiful, as when he writes “there is no long list of the living,” and he isn't afraid of a joke."