"Stories (1992), by Michael Kallstrom, is an electronic chamber opera for
solo bass and puppets with electronic tape. It is made of 4 comic
settings (#1-3, #6) and 2 serious settings (#4,#5) from the Old Testament.
Fruit, about Adam and Eve, is 3 sections: 1. The Devil's Seduction
of Eve, 2. Adam's and Eve's Eyes Are Opened, 3. God Throws Them Out
of the Garden. God's displeasure is registered in a blues. Babble, referring to the Tower of Babel, moves back and forth between
the silly and serious. The scene ends in a children's song of nonsense
words and syllables. Vertically Disadvantaged, the David and
Goliath tale, deals more with artistic Philistinism than ethnic Philistinism.
David complains of Goliath's bad taste and Goliath is frustrated by
David's high culture. David wins in the end and cuts off Goliath's
head to a Mozart-like aria. Soliloquy -- the madness of Saul
-- alludes to Poe's telltale heart. This remarkable aria is a frightening
account of a king's descent in to paranoia., with non-chord tones,
representing the heart, adding a great deal to the drama. Window pertains to the story of David and Bathsheba. Here David deals
with a carnal madness, mirroring the previous scene. Fiery Furnace, the old saw of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego formally resembles
the opening composition, with references to Handel, the Queen of the
Night" aria, and the 3 Stooges. Furnace closes with a
calypso-like Sunday School tune against a New Orleans bass line.
The electronic accompaniment
is orchestral and blends well with the voice as the 2 parts compliment
each other. Most of the sounds are fairly standard, but are well
used. Non-chord tones are used expertly and one of the distinctive
elements of Kallstrom's style. The singing is by the composer who
is a very fine bass."