UrbanArias is a small opera company that presents an annual mini-festival of mostly new chamber operas in a black-box theater at Rosslyn’s Artisphere. The hope is that such a company can reinvigorate the moribund world of opera, because it champions work that other companies cannot or will not. A listener looking for opera in all of its irrational extravagance, the art form in which music and stage grandeur deliver the largest emotional punch of them all, might be disappointed by the experience.
The company’s second production this year is a double bill of one-act pieces, heard Sunday night.
Thomas Pasatieri’s chamber operas are certainly no innovation, as they have obvious appeal to many small-budget companies. The libretto of Pasatieri’s “Before Breakfast,” a verismo melodrama by Frank Corsaro based on a Eugene O’Neill play, follows the early-morning rant of a woman caught in a tragic marriage going nowhere. Conceived originally for Beverly Sills and revised in 2006 for Lauren Flanigan, the single role calls for a soprano with some dramatic power and high-flying range, qualities that this production’s Charlotte, Caroline Worra, had in spades.