Entertainment Central Pittsburgh – It is not true, as the old joke goes, that you want to be in Pittsburgh when the world ends because everything happens here 20 years later. We are not behind the times, and don’t make me get defensive about it or I will start rattling off a list of Pittsburgh’s famous firsts. The city in which the pull-tab top for beer cans was invented is clearly a city at the cutting edge of science and culture.
THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT (chamber opera) by Michael Nyman et al, from Oliver Sacks’ story. Nov. 25 – Dec. 11, Quantum Theatre.
Before The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat was made into an opera, it was the title case in a book by the neurologist Oliver Sacks. In his 1985 collection of “clinical tales,” Sacks wrote of patients with various brain disorders that had affected them in unusual ways. The man of the title suffered from visual agnosia: he could see quite well but was losing the ability to recognize what he saw. He’d confuse objects with people—trying to shake hands with a grandfather clock, thinking a fire hydrant was a small child—and one day, wanting his hat, he grabbed his wife’s head and tried to put it on. The man could still identify things and people by sound, in fact with great acuity, as he was a perfect-pitch classical singer. So not surprisingly, composer Michael Nyman and librettists Christopher Rawlence and Michael Morris wrote a chamber opera based on the story. It’s said to be moving and thought-provoking. Quantum Theatre, which blew away audiences last year with an operatic remake of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, is staging The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. 200 N. Highland Ave., East Liberty.