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UCLA Magazine Spring 2005
From Murphy Hall
Living La Vida 'Lorca'
Stress Fractures
What's at Stake
The Importance of Being Elma
House of Cards
The Quest
Through Women's Eyes
Dynamic Duo
Bruin Walk

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Spring 2005
Living La Vida 'Lorca'

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Khori Dastoor and Kalil Wilson
Matthias Metternich with Nicole Tafralian
Top: Khori Dastoor (left) and Kalil Wilson rehearse the love duet. Above: chorus member Matthias Metternich with dancer Nicole Tafralian.

Krouse, in a dark knit top that sets off his silvery-white hair, stands alongside Mona Lands, the accompanist, who is at a black Steinway piano that has been rolled into a corner of the room. Krouse’s eyes are fixed on León and Dastoor. The music is lusty, virile and has moments of soaring abandon; the conductor Jonathan Stockhammer ’92 says Krouse “jumps naked into the ocean” in this particular scene. It is definitely the work of the composer’s younger self. Now age 49, Krouse wrote it more than 20 years ago.

At the end of the love duet, Dastoor remains in León’s embrace, but her left arm falls slack at her side. There is dead silence in the room, then an eruption of applause.

The response delights Krouse. The love scene comes in the third and final act of the opera, and there’s a lot riding on it. If audiences like it, they’ll walk out of the Freud Playhouse having had a nice evening at the opera. If they love it — if it gives them chills in the way that great opera does — then Lorca might have a life beyond the UCLA campus, which is Krouse’s fervent hope.

“If it doesn’t go to the next level, then I’ve failed, to some degree,” Krouse says after the preview.

That may be exhaustion talking. Krouse has been running on fumes for weeks. But there is no denying that he has invested a huge part of his life in bringing Lorca to the stage. And while he and Galbán gave life to Lorca, neither of them has any idea how it will turn out. In the world of opera, anything can happen.

With just three weeks to go before opening night, Aren Der Hacopian, 28, one of the opera’s stars, pulls himself out of the cast because of a health issue. The singer’s departure leaves Evan Hughes, 21 — a bass baritone to Der Hacopian’s lyric baritone — to handle the physically stressful role of Lorca four performances in a row. It’s a big job with a lot of pressure, especially for such a young singer. “I guess all I can try to do is be in the moment about it,” says Hughes.

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