Andrew Cohen at Newsweek/MSNBC reviews the musical "Elements of Style," which I mentioned last week. I'm not entirely surprised that the idea proved more interesting than the actual performance. I once spent a year as a theater reviewer, and this happened time and time again.
Maira Kalman collaborated on the operatic song cycle with Nico Muhly; Kalman has also illustrated a new version of the Strunk and White grammar guide.
From Andrew Cohen's review:
Unfortunately, the operatic style of the piece rendered the lyrics all but unintelligible to this listener—in ironic contrast to the simplifying ethos of "Elements"—though that may be more the fault of the acoustics of the library venue, which was, after all, designed for silence.
Not that any of this prevented the piece from garnering titters of appreciation capped by a standing ovation from the high-tone crowd in attendance. Although the piece may have violated E. B. White's advice to "Prefer the standard to the offbeat," it was more than effective in fulfilling another edict: "Be obscure clearly."