Review by Judith Caldwell
As part of Hamilton Arts Week, Hammer Baroque presented an in-concert version of Alessandro Scarlatti’s opera “Folly in Love”, Alessandro is now less famous than his son Domenico, but back in the day he was celebrated as a major composer of opera in the period before Handel and Gluck. His ‘Gli equivoci nel sembiante’ was composed in 1679 when he was only 18 years old, it is a pastoral comedy of love and yearning, a mischievous and jealous sibling and a long lost brother who looks just like our hero.
The HAMMER BAROQUE ensemble musicians
Review by Danny Gaisin
The Gershwin brothers wrote a rather short-lived musical in 1930 titled GIRL CRAZY. Six decades later it had an overhaul (sort of like any Danielle Steele book) with the names changed, and a plot modification. The new version -”CRAZY FOR YOU” and Sheridan’s theatre faculty has staged a super interpretation directed & choreographed by Julie Tomaino.
Seems every’ Old fart’ reaches a point where he remembers trivia from way-too-far back; this scribe recalls two anecdotes learned first-hand about the original iteration. At a serendipitous meeting with Ethel Merman, I learned that Girl Crazy was her first major Broadway show.
The CRAZY for YOU cast deciding the future of ‘Deadrock’
Review by Danny Gaisin
Doing what we do, i.e. critiquing over a hundred concerts and theatre events every year; becoming jaded is par for the course. Then something comes along that knocks us for a loop. Sheridan’s Theatre Arts Faculty is staging a new play by Morris Panych, with music & lyrics by Anika and Britta Johnson. This Michael Rubinoff production that takes place in 1919 is as real and contemporary as this week’s news. The plot deals with a burlesque operation; gangsters; women treated as chattels; a mystery and except for moments of comic relief- operatic tragedy. The twenty-one arias pack visceral messages and impact.
Editor’s Note: At the request of the producer; no cast photos were taken of this play
Our intrepid critic & TRAP DOOR’s creative team!
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
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”
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!