"Territories" is a series of short scenes involving seven women and their relationships to Alex Caras, a woman living with AIDS; each of the singers appears in multiple roles and moves between present and past, reality and dream. The key relationship is between Alex and her chief care-provider, Louise -- this is an uncomfortable friendship that changes and deepens as each participant grows in knowledge of herself and the other. Some of the scenes are effective; the audience responded most strongly to the comic ones that depict interpersonal tensions in the family and the workplace. Others ring false -- a lawyer who is Louise's lover, and who has therefore presumably been educated about AIDS, chooses the moment of Alex's most severe health crisis to insist on barging in to make her will.
The three performers in "Territories," a new, improvised opera about women and AIDS, are convinced and sincere. Sopranos Cherie Magnello and Karin Foglesong and mezzo-soprano Victoria Pittman also boast voices of beautiful quality and secure technique; under the direction of Roland Tec, all three have purged themselves of every vestige of phony operatic acting and communicate real feelings, even when they are working with phony material and moving across an all-mylar set in a church basement.