Anne Midgette, of the Washington Post, reviewed Jake Runestad and David Johnston’s new opera, “Daughters of the Bloody Duke.”
“And I was thoroughly amused, as I was meant to be, by “Daughters of the Bloody Duke.” The composer Jake Runestad and the librettist David Johnston responded to the limitations of their prescribed form with a loving sendup that amounted to a 21st-century take on an early-19th-century Gothic ballad (40 daughters marry 40 sons, with the goal of killing every one) expressed in the vocabulary of musical comedy. It seemed to be as much fun for the singers — including Jacqueline Echols weaving across stage as a drunk, knife-wielding sister, Deborah Nansteel as the vengeful ghost of Grandmother, and Kerriann Otaño and Patrick O’Halloran as the straight-man couple at their mercy — as it was for the audience.
And Runestad had fun going over the top, piling melody upon melody in a celebration of camp. “Daughters of the Bloody Duke” deserves to have a long and happy life in conservatories and apprentice programs. I would love to see what its creators come up with next.”