Saw Wainwright’s and McIvor’s Hadrian. A disappointment. Sabina’s aria in Act II was the best part. The ending backed off a possible naming of the gendered nature of Hadrian’s love for another man. We were treated to a tedious repetition of “He loved…” (with suspension marks) without the transitive completion of “him.”
The opera is confused. Is it a love story? A tale of political intrigue? A search for immortality?
That ending! Apotheosis of the god-emperor, chorus chanting the coming rise of monotheism, the prophecy of to-be-forgotten pagan gods?
Sabina’s aria “Why am waiting; what am I waiting for” (I paraphrase from memory) foreshadows the audience waiting for the recognition at the end of a man loving a man. Waiting for the word.
He was loved. But was he loved as a man? No amount of same-sex scene pantomime can substitute for the artistic exploration of the theme of reciprocation. Let alone the saying – the enunciation – that marks a coming to knowledge and action. Who did he love? Who loved him? Who had the courage to speak? Of what? To whom?
And so for day 2291