Stage Reviews

In Review Stage Reviews
West Edge Opera 2017 Review – The Chastity Tree: An Exciting & Enticing Comedic Romp
A romp, a fiesta, a “lotta” fun, and musically, young-voice rich - that’s West Edge Opera’s production of “The Chastity Tree,” the 18th century comedy, à la Mozart, by Vicente Martin Y Soler. One of the trio of Summer Opera Festival performances by the "edgy" West Edge Company, founded in 1979, as Commedia dell’Opera, then as Berkeley Opera, has added another original production to its roster of 91 operas by…
In Review Stage Reviews
Santa Fe Opera 2017 Review – The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs: Solid Cast Lead Strong Debut Run of Mason Bates / Mark Campbell Opera
Steve Jobs would probably hate all the biopics that have snowballed since his 2011 death. However, the public just can’t seem to get enough of the troubled genius, especially at the Crosby Theatre. Santa Fe Opera presented composer Mason Bates’ and librettist Mark Campbell’s “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” to yet another sold out crowd on Aug. 10, 2017. Though the show itself has some kinks to work out before…
In Review Stage Reviews
Santa Fe Opera 2017 Review – Golden Cockerel: Emmanuel Villaume Leads An Impressive Cast In Rimsky-Korsakov’s Masterpiece
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov probably knew that a tale of an appallingly incompetent royal would still resonate with audiences almost 108 years after its Moscow premiere. On August 3, 2017, the Santa Fe Opera presented Rimsky-Korsakov’s seldom-performed "The Golden Cockerel," marking its SFO debut. At the podium was conductor Emmanuel Villaume, paired with famed English director Paul Curran. Years ago, when Santa Fe Opera sought to organize its 2017 season, surely the organizers couldn't realize…
In Review Stage Reviews
Santa Fe Opera 2017 Review – Alcina: Lead Singers & Director David Alden Lead Satisfying Performance
You can tell who the real Handel lovers are by those who remain for the entirety of a three hour and 40-minute performance. However, at Santa Fe Opera’s production of “Alcina” on August 2, the house remained mostly full all the way to the curtain call. When it comes to Baroque performed in the 21st century, it helps to rely on many other dramatic factors to not only lure audiences in…
In Review IndieOpera Stage Reviews
Opera Breve 2017 Review – Carmen: The Criminal Minds of Carmen
On August 2nd, Opera Breve brought a fascinating concept to life with their new production of Bizet’s "Carmen." Stripped of its spoken dialogue and most of its music, this shortened version of the opera found most of its substance through the narration of a fictional psychoanalyst, Dr. Eva Stone. The details presented in the narration helped create an atmosphere in the absence of a set and illuminated the slow degradation…
In Review Stage Reviews
Chautauqua Opera 2017 Review – Don Pasquale: A Top-Notch Cast & Production Make For An Enjoyable Evening of Donizetti’s Comic Masterwork
In what appears to be a trend this summer, Chautauqua Opera’s production of Donizetti’s classic opera buffa “Don Pasquale” was distinguished by its treatment of a non-title character, in this case the gorgeous lyric baritone of Kyle Pfortmiller as Dr. Malatesta. Under the direction of David Schweizer, Malatesta doesn’t just engineer the complicated ruse designed to unite lovers Norina (Laura Soto-Bayomi,) and Ernesto (Arnold Livingston Geis) and thwart the foolish…
In Review Stage Reviews
Opera di Firenze, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino 2017 Review – L’Elisir d’Amore: Magical Cast & Production Give Donizetti Comedy Dramatic Depth
Review written in collaboration with David Salazar, Editor-in-Chief Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore” is often portrayed as an innocent tale of a country bumpkin often getting the girl of his dreams. Most of the time, Nemorino’s strife emphasizes his luck in landing his beloved, first through the fact that his beloved Adina does, in fact, love him and simply needs a spark to spur her on to him. Secondly, is a deus…
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Festival della Valle D’Itria 2017 Review – Orlando Furioso: Imaginative Production & Vocal Artistry Make Case for Vivaldi’s Operatic Talents
During his lifetime Vivaldi was a prolific composer of operas, responsible for setting at least 45 libretti, linked to at least 67 stage works, although Vivaldi claimed it to be 94. Yet, today his operatic output has been largely forgotten, being at best, of marginal interest to the opera-going public, restricted to recordings, rare concerts, and even rarer staged performances. During the latter part of the 20th century, Vivaldi’s contemporary,…
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Performance Santa Fe 2017 Review – Festival of Song: Brief Encounters: Vocal Quintet & Three Short Operas Deliver Memorable Evening
On July 30, 2017, at the Scottish Rite Center, Performance Santa Fe presented a vocal quintet and 3 short operas. Fifteen-year-old Ezra Shcolnik, a graduate of Performance Santa Fe’s young artist program who currently studies at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, wrote the Quintet. Mark Adamo, Jake Heggie, and Joe Illick wrote the short operas. Maestro Illick also accompanied at the piano. The concert opened with Shcolnik’s “Madrigal on…
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Bard SummerScape Festival 2017 Review – Dimitrij: A Flawed Production Makes Compelling Case For Dvořák’s Rarely Heard Sixth Opera
Let me start off by saying "Dimitrij" is not Dvořák's melodic masterpiece nor is it the most important work by the composer. But Dvořák's sixth opera is a compelling grand opera that deserves more exposure and more productions. In sum, while listening to this unique opera, one can certainly hear hints of the dramatic prowess Dvořák would eventually utilize to create his greatest operatic masterpiece "Rusalka." Attending the second performance…