Reading Lee Sandlin’s review of Chicago Opera Theater’s Akhnaten [July 28] left me with the need to answer the question posed in the final sentence: you, Lee Sandlin, are the tourist. Like the tourists who appear in Philip Glass’s opera, you come to experience something without even a rudimentary understanding of its history or context. You bumble around, take some pictures, say you were there, and then leave your offensive mark (i.e., your “review”) on it.

I would expect anyone ignorant enough to suggest that COT should “play the CD over the loudspeakers and save the cost of an orchestra” to not understand the subtleties of Glass’s music. Yet you offer such clever insights into Glass’s compositional technique (“early on in his career he’d worked out the introductory exercises in a music textbook and then decided he was set for life”) and into his dramatic intentions (we are not supposed to connect with his story). Obviously you were too busy thinking up glib little paragraph endings for your poorly written review to even try to comprehend the music of this beautiful piece, and in your quest for “eye candy” you missed the love that Akhnaten expresses for Nefertiti, his queen, and for Aten, his god. I am reminded of a tourist who returns from his trip with many useless souvenirs but has no comprehension or real sense of the place he has just visited.

I think all of us who have a genuine love of music and who enjoy being challenged would appreciate it if you would stick with Aida on your Walkman, Lee. Please just don’t waste Reader space with uninformed, amateurish rantings about it.

Jon Johnson

W. Belmont