Yes! I'm finally getting to the point, after moaning about YBCA's ticketing system and making fun of their web site.
In short, I was completely charmed. I liked the opening Luciano Chessa piece perfectly well, especially video artist Kalup Linzy's appearance as a gospel-singing angel. It set the stage dreamily, and the fact is, I think a slightly altered state - certainly a big old suspension of your ground in reality - is a good thing when you're about to see even a shortened version of Four Saints.
I had never heard any of the main event before, so the transition was, to me, seamless, especially given that one section of the Chessa sounded like a riff on Thomson.
I loved the music and loved the surrealist/experimental air of the lyrics. As somebody once said of Oklahoma, "what's the plot? It ain't got." There is some kind of a plot there, at least a hint of an outline of the lives of Sts. Teresa and Ignatius, perhaps as seen by a child or a person in medieval times, only with operating theaters and electric chairs. And all this accompanied by the most naive and direct Americana possible.
Well, it worked for me. The excellent singing went a long way, as did the delightful staging by Brian Staufenbiel and terrific conducting of Nicole Paiement. Kudos to Eugene Brancoveanu (Ignatius), Heidi Moss (Teresa I), Kristen Choi (Teresa II), John Bischoff (Compere), and Wendy Hillhouse (Commere) for their contributions.
Now, out there in new and old media land, Patrick loved Four Saints and wrote about it at great length; Sf Mike is one of the policemen in the production and clearly adores the opera. Janos Gereben has expressed puzzlement to me and isn't a fan. Joshua Kosman is down on it. Jeff Dunn liked it while seeming to want more musical substance than there is. (Joshua liked Caliban Dreams, which I totally do not get.) Closer to home, my girlfriend loved it. Me, the next time it's done I want to see the full 1934 version rather than the abbreviated-for-radio version from the 1950s.
Looking at that list, I'm left wondering: do you need some kind of queer sensibility to let go enough for Four Saints to make some kind of sense? And if so, what is that sensibility?