“Puccini & the H.P.O.”; 2017 Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin
We’re democratic (in the social -non-political way) so we respect folks right to different opinions than ours. This is especially true of opera. Unlike many other ambiguous items, this particular genus seems to elicit, like piano keys, either a black or white response – no grey area. We understand this because opera is more than just listening to music it’s experiencing the entire presentation; sight, sound and ethos. When we attend an in-concert opera performance our minds recall the whole libretto, the rationale and the scenario behind each presented aria. Non-aficionados may thus not appreciate the piece as part of an entirety.

Benedikt & Jackson interpreting “O Soave Fanciulla” from La Boheme

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A ‘twofer’ operatic opportunity from the C.O.C. Reply

Review by Michael Piscitelli
This past week, I have been fortunate enough to go to two operas’ in a row. Both were comedic operas that took very different approaches to comedy, of black comedy and slapstick. For Richard Strauss’ 1933 comedic “Arabella”, director Tim Albery tried his hand at making it into a black comedy. Unfortunately, it fell flat, and made it more of a mellow drama (I’m fully aware of my choice of words) than a black comedy. A show about absurd ideas about love, mistaken identity and poor uses of money it’s sure to have many jokes sung throughout the piece.

                             Erin Wall as “ARABELLA”

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“HMS Pinafore” – all the ‘♫Whys & Wherefores ♫’ 1

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin

The first time we saw Gilbert & Sullivan’s 1881 operetta ‘HMS PINAFORE’, it was presented by a community theatre group that considered the lyrics remedial for folks with some speech challenges, and certainly singing was more fun than reciting tongue-twisters! The play has a strong but subtle message and denigrates ingrained British snobbism and oligarchic political attainment (think today’s White House). Stratford’s Lezlie Wade meticulously underscores the play’s comedic bent with impacting visual images; a creative and functional set, plus acute physical activity. Her choreographic utilization of the set’s two curved staircases will remind older individuals of the Busby Berkeley routines from the late fifties.

Admiral Laurie Murdoch chastising Captain Steve Ross before the crew & all those sisters/cousins/aunts!

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“CARMEN”, tempts Don José; seduces him & dies 6

Review by Terry Gaisin

Bizet’s 1875 opera ‘CARMEN’ is undoubtedly the most popular and beloved of the genre. Understandable given the libretto by Meihac & Halèvy; exceptional music and unrivalled lyrics. Who can’t instantly recall the memorable “ Toreador-a, don’t spit on the floor-a, we have a cuspidor-a; that’s what it’s for-a ♪ “!
The plot deals with a conscientious Spanish soldier, engaged to a hometown girl. He meets a sexy Gypsy; and is ordered to arrest her. Falls head-over-heels and lets her escape. After release he re-joins her, but she meets a popular bullfighter. The soldier is jealous and stabs her -Curtain & rousing applause.

Carmen (red dress) seducing the entire local constabulary

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“PopOpera”; a panacea for us aficionados Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

An evening of operatic aria selections, especially differently chosen from the ‘same old, same old’ fare of the most familiar, is a palliative for those of us unable to zip down to the Glimmerglass festival (this year – Porgy & Bess plus Oklahoma) and that other Cooperstown icon. Boris Brott’s N.A.O. enlisted the talents of ten professional vocalists to interpret sixteen compositions ranging from eighteenth century to 1966. Some choices were well-known and proverbial but most were new to us scribblers … a nice personal anniversary (54th) gift.

All the soloists (& audience) singing “Libiamo”

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Gotterdammerung (or part 4 of the cycle) Reply

Review by Michael PiscitellireviewerMichael P2
The Ring Cycle is one of the longest pieces of theatrical performance in recorded history coming in at approximately fifteen hours long. To put that into perspective, the final part of the entire four-part cycle, Götterdämmerung, was about 330 minutes including both intermissions. This length is not for the faint of heart and I highly recommend being very interested in Wagner’s music and the German language if you have any notion of seeing this show. That being said, it was an absolutely lovely performance and if given the choice to see the rest, would at least, see the parts I know from my childhood.

a dramatic Wagnerian operatic moment

a dramatic Wagnerian operatic moment

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