October 24, 2013 |
To say Ken Ludwig's 1986 farce Lend Me a Tenor is enjoying something of a resurgence is to ignore its ongoing popularity. It's one of the most-produced contemporary farces, and its 2010 Broadway revival spawned a flurry of regional activity. Bud Martin, who directed Act II Playhouse's entry last season, found it so nice he decided to mount it twice, importing much of that cast for Delaware Theatre Company's current production. And why not? Tony Braithwaite has proved his mettle on area stages as a farceur extraordinaire, with lightning timing and a performance style loose enough to allow for ad-libbing during inevitable bedding/running/door-slamming mishaps.
December 7, 2012 |
'Well, the singing was good. " Such were the comments heard after opening night of the Metropolitan Opera's latest foray into operatic controversy with its new, mid-to-high-concept production of Un Ballo in Maschera , though in this case, the above-mentioned praise isn't faint at all. The David Alden production, which has been running for the last month, will be beamed live to six area movie theaters at 12:55 p.m. Saturday, and is likely...
October 5, 2010 |
Some operas demand to be heard despite their extraordinary risk factor. Bellini's Norma is one, Verdi's Otello is another, both standing like peaks to be climbed if only because they are there. Though Opera Company of Philadelphia fares better in its current Otello than in past seasons with Norma , Otello still requires faith - or at least it did at its Friday Academy of Music opening. Producing an Aida -size opera in the current economy is bound to involve corner cutting, and that was immediately apparent in the refurbished Paul Shortt-designed production dating back to director Robert B. Driver's past life with the Indianapolis and Syracuse opera companies (and a reminder of Driver's less-distinguished early Philadelphia years)
October 1, 2010
Giuseppe Verdi's love for Shakespeare overcame his reluctance, at age 66, to write another challenging opera. "Otello," with libretto by Arrigo Boito, was a masterpiece, a deeply compelling drama with stunning music. This is the first "Otello" in the Opera Company of Philadelphia 's 35-year history, with the role of the Moor sung by tenor Clifton Forbis . ( Allan Glassman steps into the role for Sunday's performance.) French soprano Norah Amsellem is Desdemona, with baritone Mark Delavan as Iago and tenor Jason Collins as Cassio.
September 26, 2010 |
The cost of producing Shakespeare rarely comes with a discount, financially or psychologically. Even after 400 years of unbroken performance histories, the plays keep demanding more. "Not a piece you do just any day," says Robert Driver of Verdi's Otello - the one operatic adaptation of Shakespeare that harnesses the full power of the original - which he's directing in its first Opera Company of Philadelphia production, opening Friday at the Academy of Music. Across Broad Street, the Wilma Theater's co-artistic director, Blanka Zizka, is staging her first Shakespearean play, Macbeth , but says she might as well be doing an opera, with simultaneous rehearsals for fights, dialogue, music, and witches - all of which will come together in its first preview performance Wednesday.
July 30, 2006 |
For the first time since Enrico Caruso sang into a recording horn in 1902, home opera consumption is shifting: Once heard but only occasionally seen on the home front, opera can now roar out of laptops and widescreen TVs in Surround Sound and high-definition pictures via DVDs, which are no longer an afterthought to compact discs, and are quickly becoming the ruling format. "Studio recordings of opera have become prohibitively expensive. . . . The likelihood of seeing many more is pretty much nil," says Mark Forlow, vice president of EMI and Virgin Classics in New York.
November 12, 2002 |
'Were we at the same show?" That's a standard comment heard amid disagreements at theatrical postmortems. And it's going to be heard more in the polarized reaction that's greeting the Opera Company of Philadelphia's current production of Carmen. Indisputably rooted in 19th-century Spanish soil, Carmen has long been sheltered from high-concept productions that have become fashionable almost every place but here. Yet now, even conservative opera capitals such as Zurich have Otello reset in a spaceship - it's awe-inspiring.
March 18, 2001 |
The world has remarkably little to offer Giuseppe Verdi in this 100th anniversary of his death. Even in Philadelphia, where the Italian community and all sensible opera lovers guaranteed good box office for Verdi before his operas were fashionable, there are few plans to celebrate his music - nor can there be. Typically, composer anniversaries deliver a tidal wave of new recordings. Previously dismissed pieces are rehabilitated. Old favorites get fresh interpretations. But Verdi, the composer of the people, whose operas are often populated with society's rejects - hunchbacks, witches, drunks, hermits and tubercular courtesans - doesn't conform to the typical.
March 12, 1995 |
The party crowd quivered with anticipation, as if waiting for Otello's grand entrance from the storm in the Verdi opera. Talk revolved around the guest of honor, Placido Domingo, a man who once sang the role of Otello. "He's in an upstairs bedroom resting before he comes down," one guest said to another. "He's having formal pictures taken," whispered another in a hallway conversation, while someone else said the opera star had yet to arrive. Seemingly on cue, the Spanish tenor appeared and smoothly worked the crowd - kissing one cheek here, shaking a hand there, and sometimes gazing deeply at a woman as though she were the only one there.
September 29, 1993 |
The Metropolitan Opera used tenor envy to its advantage, opening its season with a fund-raising gala that featured Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti in starring roles. Both tenors on Monday were marking the 25th anniversary of their debuts at the Met, and the Met's administrators found a way to give them equal time by casting each in a starring role for one act of different operas and then playing a little joke in the scene from Il Trovatore that closed the evening. The negotiations that produced the events seen on stage must have matched those that brought Israel and the PLO together, for tenor envy is a force that surges through every aspect of opera.